Another Royal Marriage – The Black Queen Of England

Okay, I’m giving the answer to one of my trivia questions in my last post. But, that’s okay. I’m sure those of you who have read it have figured it out by now.

250 years ago, even before we were The United States of America, Britain’s most infamous king as far as America is concerned was marrying a Black woman in St. James Palace. The king was George III.

Her skin was light brown. Her features were African. And, even though she was sought out as the most eligible european woman at the moment to marry, she herself was of Portuguese/African descent. She was Princess Charlotte Sophia of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, born May 19, 1744 in the house below. She was crowned Queen Charlotte of England at Westminster Abbey.

According to online sources, she was the royal descendent of Margarita de Castro y Sousa, a black branch of the Portuguese Royal House. She was very African in her appearance, but little mention of that is made in history and it is said that royal painters did not go to great lengths to lighten her skin or modify her features to suit the masses.

She and George III had fifteen children together, most of whom survived. Other queens have had as many if not more pregnancies, but most of the children did not survive, particularly into adulthood. Queen Phillippa had 14 children and would be a close runner-up, but I think the only other monarch who had such a large, surviving brood into adulthood was Queen Victoria, who had nine children. Upon Charlotte’s death, she had nearly 150 grandchildren, great and great-grandchildren combined throughout the monarchies and aristocracy of Europe. All I can say is that’s a lot of black blood amongst the blue-bloods.

Photo Credit: FanPop

Knowing what I do about history, the Queen’s life could not have been easy. George III’s reign was plagued with war, and then he had to deal with a little affair called The American Revolution. Then, there was the king’s mental illness (mad King George!) and poor eyesight that plagued him later in life.

But, Queen Charlotte also had a front-row seat to the industrial revolution, the growth of British commerce, and the rise of a precocious boy musician named Mozart who was invited to the palace. Both king and queen were patron of the arts and horticulture. But, her most famous claim can be that she is the grandmother of Queen Victoria, one of the greatest British monarchs. Victoria’s father was Charlotte’s fourth son, Prince Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent and Strathearn.

Queen Victoria, Charlotte's granddaughter

Anyway, I just thought I’d post something fun and light today in lieu of the royal wedding. The British monarch is full of “intrigue” that most don’t know about unless they dig deep enough. And, it’s kinda interesting that in a day and age when people focus so much on skin color and appearance that King George III and his wife were able to forge a life together two-hundred and fifty years ago. And, they say he was one of the few kings faithful to his wife. Hmm.

Note: Some have argued that England has had two Black queens. Many believe Queen Philippa of Hainault b. 1314, mother of Edward, the Black Prince, was of African descent as well. I’m not so convinced, but if anyone has evidence I’d love to hear it. I’m a not-so-crazy Anglophile and always willing to learn.

If you enjoyed this post, read my post on royalty and autism.

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23 Comments

  1. Maria says:

    I am a British citizen and truly thrilled to hear from so many sources that Queen Charlotte may actually have been of African descent! And indeed, the portraits of Queen Charlotte do show her as having decidely African features! One odd thing is: why did none of her children inherit these features (or did they?)
    However a spice of Africa is definitely the very thing to brighten up today’s rather dreary British royal family. We should all be very very proud of our multicultural royals!

    • Sockit Mama says:

      Yes, that’s a very curious thing, isn’t it? Now, I myself am African American and married to a White man. My daughter looks more Caucasian (although her looks are changing as she gets older) and my son looks more African American. She didn’t inherit too many of my traits, but she may look quite different when she gets older. Maybe it’s because Charlotte was only half African American and most Brits are pretty much homogenous, there weren’t many of the darker-featured genes in the gene pool.

      It really gives you something to think about. Thank for stopping by. London (and New York) are my favorite cities in the world! I hope to live there someday.

      • KJ says:

        You’re way off base when you stated Charlotte was only half “African-American”. If anything Charlotte was “African-European” as it is believed she was of African and Portuguese blood.

  2. A says:

    Whoa that’s kind of cool…so by American rules the royal family is considered black?

  3. Gary Lloyd says:

    Here’s the book on it:

    Mulatto Queen: Grandmother of All Europe

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00422LLS2

  4. Recently I opened a museum in my staircase dedicated to the true looks of historical persons. Suriname Blue Blood Is Black Blood Museum. My Blog is Bluebloodisblackblood.blogspot.com.
    Europe was dominated by an elite, 2-3 % of the inhabitants, who were brown and black of complexion. Among them there were those with classical African facial traits, like Charlotte Sophie of Mecklenburg. These traits were seen as proof of pure blood: noble blood. another less then 1% from this number was blue blood nobility, true nobility or old nobility without a charter, but noble from the start 1100-1848.
    Jane Austen had them too, her brother spoke of her pure blood showed in her modest cheeck. He quoted John Donne. That’s why all this nonsense of not having a portrait of her. She was a ‘ brunette of complexion’ and ‘ a brown, not a pink colour.’ All her personages are light brown, brown, very brown and black. This you can check by just reading her books.
    The whites were the serfs, and outcast and were only emancipated in 1848. Next they white washed history, even misusing whitened portraits the black and brown royal elite had made, next to black portraits that survive as prints. These I have collected and are shown in my museum, in The Hague, Holland.

  5. Pat says:

    GREAT blog. The truth will make you free. Free “from error” and erroneous information. OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG Would you be so kind as to feature the same kind of information on King James (who authorized the Holy Bible). When I heard that he was a black man who spoke several languages, governed Scotland, Ireland and other countries I WAS IN SHOCK FOR DAYYYYYYYYYYYSSSSSSS and I’m a Minister of the Gospel.

    Thanks again for this information.

  6. Victor Hutchins says:

    I’ve definitely read that Queen Charlottes grandmother on her mothers side a lady named Sophia Von Erbach had a child Elizabeth (queen Charlottes mom)by Peter the greats African slave the ancestor of Pushkin.Further research confirmed that Peter the great was in Germany in 1713 around the time of Queen Charlottes moms conception along with his African slave.Now what about that!

  7. Victor Hutchins says:

    And what about the black child of Louis XIV’s queen Maria Theresa of Spain,who swore up and down that the reason for the child’s black features was that she was frightened by a black dwarf a gift from a African prince or king who visited France.The dwarf was’nt the only gift the king or prince left this queen.The child was concealed in a convent for the rest of her life.

  8. Victor Hutchins says:

    Just take a look at Queen Charlottes several brothers and her sister Christine they are mulatto in appearance which proves her mother Elisabeth of Saxe-Hildburghausen was half black,which proves her grandmother Sophia Albertina Von Erbach had a child by Peter the Greats African slave Gannibal.Peter the Great along with his slave were in Germany around the end of 1712 when Charlottes mom was conceived.

  9. Victor Hutchins says:

    To even speculate that Charlotte inheireted her black features from a Portuguese ancestor from nearly 500 years previously is absurd.Over 400 plus years the black strain would have been minuscule at best.Queen Charlotte’s black bloodline was much more recent.Possibly her maternal grandfather.

    • Sockit Mama says:

      Victor, excellent point! I would love to do more research on Charlotte. One of these days when the kids are in school and I have time to spare, I will do that. I appreciate your thoughts.

  10. newyorkman says:

    “According to online sources, she was the royal descendent of Margarita de Castro y Sousa, a black branch of the Portuguese Royal House. She was very African in her appearance, but little mention of that is made in history and it is said that royal painters did not go to great lengths to lighten her skin or modify her features to suit the masses.”

    I have no doubt that some things in historical records have been either distorted or omitted. But how do we know? We have to defer to those recorded accounts, unless credible evidence refutes them. Part of the problem is that too many online sources present their own speculation or worse, utter fabrications, as fact to fit an agenda. I am totally in favor of exploring evidence to find the truth and I hope credible historians and other experts address the subject of Queen Charlotte. I have no expertise on this subject, so I am unable to come to a conclusion either way until a peer-reviewed study is done by reputable experts.

    • Sockit Mama says:

      Hello, there! But, remember, there are historical records that are actually quite valid, not distorted. It all depends. However, I appreciate your opinion on the matter and it’s nice to see there are those willing to dig deeper. Thanks!

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