The biggest howler from Sunday night’s “Harry and Meghan: A Royal Romance” was that England had a black queen — Queen Charlotte, famously portrayed by…
The biggest howler from Sunday night’s “Harry and Meghan: A Royal Romance” was that England had a black queen — Queen Charlotte, famously portrayed by Helen Mirren in the film “The Madness of King George.”
In the Lifetime TV movie, the Queen of England escorts Prince Harry (Murray Fraser) and Meghan Markle (Parisa Fitz-Henley) over to a portrait of Queen Charlotte, painted by Allan Ramsay in 1761. Says Elizabeth II to the “Suits” star, “I’ve always loved this portrait of our ancestor Queen Charlotte, because the painter Ramsay didn’t try to hide her African heritage.”
Huh?
The Queenie goes on to say to Harry, “Oh yes, you’re of mixed race, Harry. So am I. Many of her portraits tried to hide that fact, but this one is most authentic, much like you.”
So in one fell swoop, Queen Charlotte, dead these many centuries, upstaged the entire production. But who was she? And what of her lineage, that eternal British obsession?
Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz has German ancestry. But historian Mario de Valdes y Cocom has traced her roots back to 15th-century Portuguese noblewoman Margarita de Castro e Souza, who in turn says she is a descendant of King Alfonso III of Portugal (1210-1279) and his one-named black mistress, Madragana.
Critics of this theory say that Madragana is so far back in the Queen’s family tree that any African ancestry is so diluted by now it hardly matters. Per the Washington Post, Buckingham Palace spokesperson David Buck once said, “This has been rumored for years and years. It is a matter of history, and frankly, we’ve got far more important things to talk about.”
The real Queen Elizabeth II has never spoken about the matter, and the dialogue in last night’s film came across like another Hollywood scriptwriter trying to find a berth for the royal family in the identity politics movement. Good luck with that.
Aside from this historical overreach, the movie’s inherent cheesiness was partly redeemed by a gallant performance by Fraser as the earnest Harry. It was funny, though, how he kept showing up at Meghan’s dressing room door, private home, etc. at a moment’s notice, as if there were no Atlantic Ocean between them.

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