No – Queen Charlotte wasn’t black




charlotte
(public domain)

Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was a German Princess who, at the age of 17, married King George III of the United Kingdom and thus became Queen. They would eventually have fifteen children together.

The stories of the supposed biracial heritage of Queen Charlotte came about after comments on the Allan Ramsay portrait (see above) that she had the “broad nostrils and heavy lips of the ‘blond Negroid type.'”1. Baron Stockmar, the personal physician to Queen Charlotte’s granddaughter Princess Charlotte’s husband Leopold, also wrote of the Queen that she was “small and crooked, with a real Mulatto face.”2

In 1999, Mario de Valdes y Cocom expanded on the claims by J.A. Rogers and added that the portrait showed  “conspicuously African” features.3 These features supposedly came from one of Charlotte’s distant ancestors named Madragana (born circa 1230), who was a mistress of King Afonso III of Portugal. She was described as either Moorish4 or Mozarab5, which was then taken to mean black.

Even if Madragana were black, the generational distance between her and Charlotte and subsequently the rest of the British royal family would make any notion of them being black ridiculous. It certainly wouldn’t make any difference at this point. In addition, other portraits of Charlotte by different painters show distinctly different facial features, making the whole claim based on a single portrait somewhat unreliable. Even Baron Stockmar’s description seems rather unreliable if you take into account that he also wrote unflattering words about her children’s appearance. He was also the only one to make comments like that during her lifetime. Surely, if she truly had “conspicuously African” features, we would have heard more about it?

So while Queen Charlotte’s ancestry hardly makes her black or even biracial, the story comes up from time to time. Such as when the biracial Meghan Markle married Prince Harry and became Duchess of Sussex, or when the Netflix series Bridgerton featured a black Queen Charlotte in a love story with King George that kickstarted a decidedly mixed aristocracy.

  1. Sex and Race, Volume 1: Negro-Caucasian Mixing in All Ages and All Lands — The Old World, Volume 1 by J. A. Rogers p.288
  2. Memoirs of Baron Stockmar, Volume 1 p.50
  3. PBS
  4. BNP p.97
  5. Archive p.702-703






About Moniek Bloks 2352 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

1 Comment

  1. And that is why TV programs and movies should have a big This is fictional disclaimer.
    A horrible example was the Tudors TV program that combined Henry the VII sisters into one person. It would have been interesting to see how they handled Mary Queen of Scots marrying her cousin Darnley when their grandmothers had already been merged into a single entity

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