Meet The British Royal Of African Descent Before Meghan Markle

It appears Meghan Markle may not be the first British royal of African descent. Historians have argued and presented proof that Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz takes that position. Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz who was originally named Sophia Charlotte was born on, she became Queen of England because of her marriage to King George III. She was the youngest daughter of  Duke Charles Louis Frederick of Mecklenburg and his wife Princess Elisabeth Albertine of Saxe-Hildburghausen.

At 22 years of age, King George III ascended the throne of Great Britain after the death of his father, King George II, and was thereafter compelled to be married. He was drawn to Princess Charlotte who was only 17 at the time, as she was still naïve and likely not interested in politics, power or issues of parties.

He was right; Princess Charlotte was brought up in Mecklenburg-Strelitz, a small north-German duchy in the Holy Roman Empire, and not so much as a royal. Diplomatic reports state that the Princess had received “a very mediocre education”.  She only received some rudimentary instruction in botany, natural history, and language from tutors, but her education focused on household management and religion.

Following the King’s marriage proposal, the Princess departed Germany for London on the 17th of August, 1761. Six hours after her arrival at St James Palace, London on the 8th of September 1761, she and the King were joined in holy matrimony at the Chapel Royal, St. James’s Palace.

Proofs Of African Ancestry

According to Historian of the African Diaspora, Maria de Valdes Y Cocom, Queen Charlotte was a direct descendant of a black branch of the Portuguese royal family: Alfonso III and his concubine, Ouruana, who was a black Moor. She descended from Margarita de Castro e Souza, a 15th-century Portuguese noblewoman, who traced her ancestry to King Afonso III of Portugal and one of his mistresses, Madragana.

“Alfonso III of Portugal had conquered a little town named Faro from the Moors,” Valdes said in an interview with The Washington Post “He demanded [the governor’s] daughter as a paramour. He had three children with her.” He said.

According to Valdes, one of their sons, Martin Alfonso, married into the noble de Sousa family, which also had black ancestry, and there is how Charlotte’s African descent was traced from both families.

Valdes also pointed out several other descriptions of Queen Charlotte that show she was a woman of mixed race. The royal physician, Baron Christian Friedrich Stockmar, described Charlotte as “small and crooked, with a true mulatto face.” Sir Walter Scott also wrote that she was “ill-colored”, and a prime minister who once wrote of Queen Charlotte said: “Her nose is too wide and her lips too thick.”

Africans in several British colonies who were convinced by some of her distinctly African features as seen on portraits and coins held her in high esteem.

According to the Times, “The connection had been rumored but never proved…The royal family has hidden credentials that make its members appropriate leaders of Britain’s multicultural society. It has black and mixed-raced royal ancestors who have never been publicly acknowledged. An American genealogist has established that Queen Charlotte, the wife of George III, was directly descended from the illegitimate son of an African mistress in the Portuguese royal house.”

Though British scholars have said the evidence is negligible, the Boston Globe hailed Valdes’s research as groundbreaking.

With this evidence, one can say that Queen Charlotte passed on her mixed-race heritage to her granddaughter, Queen Victoria, and Britain’s present-day monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.

According to David Williamson, “In any case, all European royal families somewhere are linked to the kings of Castile. There is a lot of Moorish blood in the Portuguese royal family and it has diffused over the rest of Europe. The question is, who cares?”

A Buckingham Palace spokesman, David Buck who did not outrightly deny Queen Charlotte’s African ancestry, had this to say to the Globe: “This has been rumored for years and years. It is a matter of history, and frankly, we’ve got far more important things to talk about.”

However, with the present-day adverse racial conditions, it’s only logical to agree with Valdes who says Charlotte’s genealogy is important to history. According to him Charlottesville, “is named after this queen. Her ancestry is very relevant.” Charlottesville is an independent city in Virginia, where white supremacists and neo-Nazis, held a Unite the Right rally that turned violent, from August 11 to 12, 2017.

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