The supposedly African features of Queen Charlotte of Great Britain were the subject of much talk in the mid-1700s.
The subject of "Black Royalty" in Europe is not a new one, whether it is speculation about the African origin of Charlotte of Mecklenburg, queen consort of George III of Great Britain, or the scandal surrounding the life of Countess Sophie of Merenburg, a descendant of Pushkin, who intermarried with the imperial family of Russia when she became the wife of Grand Duke Mikhail Mikhailovich. Indeed, the daughter of Countess Sophie of Merenburg married into the Battenberg/Mountbatten family, relations of the British royal family, and the union was considered incredibly scandalous despite the young woman's recent African ancestry being on the order of 1/32nd. Why is this subject important? Are we not all of African origin as our ancestors as a race, the human race, all originated in this great continent? Why should this subject matter? Perhaps it doesn't, but it is an interesting one as it clues us into the importance of origin in European royal genealogy and changing or relaxing beliefs as aristocrats and royals marry individuals that are clearly of non-European blood, let alone not bluebloods.
Prince Maximillian of Liechtenstein, Prince Alfons, and Princess Angela.
The most obvious example of relaxing customs within European royal families is the 1999 marriage of Angela Brown of New York (by way of Panama) with Prince Maximillian of Liehctenstein, son of Sovereign Prince Hans Adam. Princess Angela, born in Bocas del Toro, Panama in 1958, married Prince Max in New York City on January 29, 2000. Princess Angela and her son Prince Alfons of Liechtenstein are considered "the highest ranked Black members of a reigning European dynasty", which is both a fascinating fact and a ridiculous statement. Leaving aside the reality that Prince Alfons (and his mother actually) are mixed race and that this fact is being ignored, to create a rank of Black individuals that have intermarried with the old royalty/nobility of Europe seems absurd. And this is leaving aside individuals of African ancestry that may have married or mingled with the noble-born covertly, producing aristocrats that may not be aware of their origins (this and the subject of changelings in Europe IS an interesting one!)
Prince Max and Princess Angela married in 2000.
It is interesting to note that all members of the reigning house of Liechtenstein were present at the aforementioned union, including Prince Hans Adam and his consort, Princess Marie, and Hereditary Prince Alois and his consort, Duchess Sophie in Bavaria. It is also important to note that the wedding did not take place in Liechtenstein, but in New York, at the church of St. Vincent Ferrer in Manhattan. Did the family wish to keep the wedding away from the prying eyes of the curious citizens of Liechtenstein who may not have approved? On a side note, is it entirely true to assert that Princess Angela and Prince Alfons are the highest ranked Black royals in Europe? Members of the royal families of Luxembourg and Belgium have all intermarried with... ahem... colonials... and the likelihood that recent African blood has now entered these houses is very high. For example, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg married a certain Maria Teresa Mestre y Batista of Havana, Cuba and there is no question that the Grand Duchess and her children are or partial African ancestry. Does this make the Luxembourgish children the "highest ranked Black royals of Europe"? Perhaps.
Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Queen of Great Britain.
But the most interesting case of a possible Black royal is that of Charlotte of Meckleburg-Strelitz, scion of a relatively minor German dynasty, and a woman considered by many observers to be undoubtedly "African" in appearance. Queen Charlotte, upon her marriage, was the subject of a poem which described her descent from the "Vandal race" and made reference to her Vandalic features; it was believed that the Vandals of North Africa were actually Black Africans and of African appearance. Queen Charlotte's portrait was also supposedly used by abolitionists to make the case for freeing the slaves, apparently because because of the incongruity between an African-origin queen of Great Britain and the enslavement of people of similar descent. Taking a peek at the portraits of Queen Charlotte, it is not difficult to understand why observers supposed that she was of African origin. Indeed, there has been much conjecture as to at what point the African genes entered her bloodline, all of which theories seem very ridiculous as one cannot explain why Queen Charlotte should be any more African than the hundreds or thousands of other inbred German royals to which she was closely related.
In any event, Charlotte might have been happy to know that times have changed and that beautiful women like Miss Angela Brown of New York might marry handsome European princes and have it practically fall under the radar.