Princess Michael of Kent has apologized for wearing a racially insensitive brooch to the queen’s Christmas lunch party on Wednesday, at which Harry’s biracial fiancée Meghan Markle was a guest, with Buckingham Palace issuing a statement saying she was “very sorry and distressed” that the brooch had “caused offense.”
The brooch is of a genre known as “blackamoor” art, which was popular in the 18th century and depicted crude figurines of black people, often presented in positions of servitude.
There have been petitions to have such statues and figurines removed from hotels and other buildings in recent years.
In a statement, Buckingham Palace said: “The brooch was a gift and has been worn many times before.
“Princess Michael is very sorry and distressed that it has caused offense.”
The Daily Beast contacted Buckingham Palace requesting further comment on Friday evening local time, shorty after the statement was reported by other media.
Princess Michael is married to the queen’s cousin, Prince Michael.
The offensive brooch was noted when they were photographed in their car on their way into the queen’s annual Christmas lunch on Wednesday.
Meghan’s father is white and her mother is black. She will be the first senior non-white member of the royal family.
According to reports Meghan and the princess were seated at separate tables but did meet at the event.
Princess Michael was accused of making racist remarks when, in a 2004 incident, she was accused of telling a group of black diners at New York restaurant Da Silvano’s to “go back to the colonies” after accusing them of making too much noise.
She denied the allegations, claiming to have used the word “colonies” to refer to a non-premium table at the back of the restaurant that she said she was prepared to move to in order to avoid the noise.
She did little to remedy the offense caused when, in a television interview about the incident, she referred to African people as “adorable” and described the controversy around her remarks as “a knife through the heart because I really love them.”
She also said in the interview: “I even pretended years ago to be an African, a half-caste African, but because of my light eyes I did not get away with it, but I dyed my hair black.”