Is Princess Michael’s ‘Blackamoor’ Brooch Really Racist?

If you don’t follow news about the British royal family, you aren’t missing much. However, the latest news is somewhat comical in that people were quick to criticize a royal relative for being racist because she wore a “blackamoor” brooch adorned with emeralds and diamonds to the Queen’s annual lunch.

Prince Harry, the Queen’s grandson recently announced his engagement to the bi-racial American actress, Meghan Markel. (Her mother is a black woman with dreadlocks; her father is white.)

Princess Michael of Kent is married to the Queen’s first cousin, Prince Michael of Kent. The brooch she wore to the party is called “blackamoor” jewelry, which dates to 16th century Venetian decor noted for its depiction of Italian Moors who wear jewels. Moors, who were Muslims from North Africa, stayed in the areas of Spain and Italy, and other regions where Islamic armies invaded prior to the Crusades. Because the princess wore the brooch to a lunch where Meghan was being introduced for the first time to the entire royal family, she was called out for being racist, or for wearing a “racially insensitive” brooch.

But how is it racist? It’s a gift that she’s worn numerous times before. Princess Michael owns an astonishing array of gemstone jewelry. Who knew that emeralds could be racist? If she had worn a china doll brooch would that have been acceptable? Who determines what jewelry is racist, and which jewelry isn’t?

Blackamoor jewelry dates to the Muslim Moors– does this mean those who are crying racism are anti-Muslim?

Here’s a description of blackamoor from a famous Venetian jeweler:

The blackamoor jewelry (earrings, pendants, necklaces and brooches) for sale are completely handmade in Venice with silver, gold and enamel using the antique techniques of venetian jewellery. This is best definition for the antique blackamoors: rare and old masterpieces of italian dextery. That’s why we offer for sale a wide selection of genuine black venetian moors handmade and finished with enamel and ebony using the ancient techniques that made Venice famous for this jewelry all over the world for centuries. Moor jewellery like earrings, pendants, necklaces and brooches are made respecting the old tradition using real craftsmanship and art but above all making every product one of the kind and completely made in Italy.

Owners of Blackamoor include: Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, Barbara Hutton, Ernest Hemingway, Arthur Rubinstein, and Elton John. Does this mean they are racist too?

In response, the royal’s spokesperson told the press that “she’s ‘very sorry and distressed’ for wearing the brooch, adding it was a gift she’s worn many times before, without controversy.”

Princess Michael said, “I traveled on African buses. I wanted to be a writer. I wanted experiences from Cape Town to right up in northern Mozambique. I had this adventure with these absolutely adorable, special people and to call me racist: it’s a knife through the heart because I really love these people.”

So was this really racist? Or will there be an increase in Blackamoor jewelry sales in response to the ridiculous outrage over royal jewelry that costs thousands of dollars that most people can’t afford.

By the way, why isn’t anyone complaining about the dress Markel wore for her engagement photo shoot, which cost more than $100,000? Doesn’t wearing such a dress make Markel an elitist who is insensitive to poor people?


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