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.
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.
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.