The queen's Christmas luncheon had attracted more attention than usual—and then even more attention, this time of a negative flavor. The lunch entered the spotlight thanks to Meghan Markle's presence at Buckingham Palace among what People reports were about 50 royal family members. But the headlines then shifted to the sartorial choices of one of them: Princess Michael of Kent. She was pilloried for wearing "racist jewelry" after being photographed (see image here) wearing a blackamoor brooch to the luncheon. NBC News explains the two-inch brooch features "an antiquated depiction of a black figure that many contend exoticizes people of color." It notes Dolce and Gabbana dealt with similar accusations in 2012 after one of its models wore a pair of blackamoor earrings in a runway show.
NBC News reports some considered it an insult to Markle, who is biracial. A rep for the princess, who is married to the queen's cousin, had this to say: "The brooch was a gift and has been worn many times before. Princess Michael is very sorry and distressed that it has caused offence." The Guardian points out it's not the princess' first rumble with accusations of racism: In 2004, she was said to have told black diners at a New York restaurant to "go back to the colonies" during a dispute about noise, and in an interview about the incident, she said that she once pretended to be "a half-caste African, but because of my light eyes I did not get away with it, but I dyed my hair black." People reports that Markle will buck tradition and attend church with the royals on Christmas. (Read more Queen Elizabeth II stories.)