By: Carla Perez
Photo Credit: AP Press
When Britain’s Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle announced their engagement Monday, the internet erupted with the news that the newest princess in the royal family would be a black princess.
Markle, mother is black and her father is white, may not be the first mixed-race royal.
Some historians suspect that Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III who bore the king 15 children, was of African descent.
The great historian Mario De Valdes believes that Queen Charlotte was directly descended from a black branch of the Portuguese royal family: Alfonso III and his concubine, Ouruana, a black Moor.
In the 13th century, “Alfonso III of Portugal conquered a little town named Faro from the Moors,” said Valdes, a researcher for Frontline PBS. “He demanded the governor’s daughter as a paramour. He had three children with her.”
According to Valdes, one of their sons, Martin Alfonso, married into the noble de Sousa family, who also had black ancestry. Queen Charlotte had African blood from both families.
Valdes, who grew up in Belize, began researching Queen Charlotte’s African ancestry in 1967, after he moved to Boston.
“I had heard these stories from my Jamaican nanny, Etheralda “TeeTee” Cole,” Valdes recalled.
He discovered that a royal physician, Baron Christian Friedrich Stockmar, described Queen Charlotte as “small and crooked, with a true mulatto face.”
Sir Walter Scott wrote that she was “ill-colored” and called her family “a bunch of ill-colored orangutans.”
One prime minister once wrote of Queen Charlotte: “Her nose is too wide and her lips too thick.”
In several British colonies, Queen Charlotte was often honored by blacks who were convinced from her portraits and likeness on coins that she had African ancestry.