Thursday 1 December 2022

The Black King

Through both of his parents, the King is descended from Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, whose features were publicly called “Negroid” at the time, when her ancestry was common knowledge and, as contemporary portraiture confirms, apparently disturbed nobody. The city of Charlotte in North Carolina is named after her, and it is the seat of Mecklenburg County.

She was descended from the part-black Royal House of Portugal, another member of which was Catherine of Braganza, who was the consort of Charles II but from whom no one is descended, unlike her husband, whose descendants have included both of the wives of Charles III, as well as the former Duchess of York. In a portrait displayed in one of the private areas of Durham Castle, Catherine is shown looking just like a mixed-raced Briton of today. Or, indeed, like the sometime Meghan Markle.

Furthermore, the King is plausibly believed to be descended from Muhammad through various part-Moorish Royal lines on the Iberian Peninsula, back through the Kings of Portugal and Castile, to the old Moorish Kings of Seville. Robert Graves was once ushered away from the then Queen after he had mentioned their common descent from the Prophet of Islam, but that view is widely held in an entirely matter-of-fact way across the Islamic world. Genghis Khan and the Tang Emperor Suzong are less plausible ancestors, but not impossible ones.