Just in time for Christmas we have a story involving a holiday party, racism and the British royal family. How fun!
The media is having an absolute field day over reports that Princess Michael of Kent wore a racist piece of jewelry to her meeting with Prince Harry's new American (and mixed race) fiance Meghan Markle.
(A little background for those of you not familiar with royal protocal. Princess Michael was born in what is now the Czech Republic just before the end of WWII. Because she is not an actual member of the royal family, her royal title comes from her marriage to the Queen's first cousin, Prince Michael of Kent and is thus properly referred to as "Princess Michael." Her real name is Marie Christine. Likewise, Meghan Markle will not be "Princess Meghan" but rather "Princess Henry of Wales. She has been criticized in the past for supposedly racist behavior.)
The press is calling this jewelry in "the blackamoor style" which from what I can tell is a European version of Mammy cookie jars here in the US. They are assuming the jewelry was intended as a racist insult to the future member of the royal family.
And hey, maybe it is. I don't know. Seems like a pretty stupid, petty thing to do if true.
But maybe there's another explanation. The Telegraph describes this brooch as "depicting the bust of a black person with an opulent gold crown and bust, embellished with purple crystals." Is it just me, or could that possibly be a depiction of one of the Magi from the bible?
The bible doesn't specifically mention how many "wise men from the East" visited the baby Jesus in Bethlehem. But traditional folklore has them numbered at 3 and they are often depicted as the 3 races of man known at that time: one white, one Asian and one black. The black Magi is sometimes referred to as Balthazar.
So, really there's no way to tell what this pin is supposed to represent or why the princess chose that particular item to wear. Maybe because she's the racist Nazi the press makes her out to be or maybe because it was a Christmas party and it was meant to be festive. But isn't it interesting that option one is the only explanation anyone in the press has bothered to mention?