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Was Queen Sophie Charlotte black (Quora)?

Submitted by afrocentric on Fri, 18/05/2018 - 02:32
(For the impatient this is a depiction of Queen Charlotte from the year she married King George III. More on it later)
Queen Sophie Charlotte as depicted by Sir Joshua Reynolds

Queen Charlotte, 1761

I have decided to update the answer with more pictures. The point I am stressing is that Europe’s royals are the descendants of Moors, which means dark-skinned people that today would be called Blacks, which includes older but not necessary extinct dark-skinned Europeans, perhaps longer established descendants of Cheddar Man and his relatives, as well as more recent settlers from Asia and Africa, who where settled in Europe before the Celts and Picts, let alone the Franks, Gauls, Goths that the Romans and Greeks were better acquainted with. Of course you will then have those who belong in history, whose presence the academic community has chosen to deemphasize and misrepresent.

Another point I am making is that the focus on Charlotte Sophia alone is wrong, because she is not the only one described as Black. The preferred term seems to be “dark” or “dark-skinned” rather than Black because that is a suitably vague term, and in contemporary times can even be applied to Katie Hamilton, Meghan Markle and Catherine Zeta Jones because they are (white) brunettes.

We have to look at her ancestry and fortunately there are two very important personalities to help us make our case as we have portraits of them which are considered authentic and look well-preserved.

They are Albrecht of Hohenzollern, First Duke of Prussia, and his wife Dorothea of Denmark.

Uncle Albert and Auntie Dorothea

Albrecht von Hohnzollern, First Duke of Prussia

Albert, Duke of Prussia(Wikipedia)

Dorothea of Denmark

Dorothea of Denmark, Duchess of Prussia - Wikipedia

The above two are direct ancestors of Charlotte Sophia along the Mecklenburg line, and as you can see, they are not that white, at least not the Nazi blonde-haired blue-eyed ideal. They look like would be faced with “No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish” signs if they were looking for accommodation during the sixties.

Louis XIV, Marie-Therese and Charles II

And you shouldn’t forget one of the main points here, endogamy, some would call it incest, such as the fact that Louis XIV, the Sun King and his consort Maria Theresa of Austria, shared the same four grandparents.

An interesting fact about Louis XIV is that he was first cousin to none other than your former king Charles II. Now let’s here some more about Charles II from Lady Antonia Fraser. At least she can’t be be accused of being an Afrocentric nut.

This is an excerpt from her book “King Charles II”

Here is a snippet from the book:

Catherine of Braganza, Benedetto Gennari the Younger (1633-1715)

First of all he had an abnormal darkness of complexion, a truly saturnine tint. This darkness was the subject of comment from the first. His mother wrote jokingly to her sister-in-law that she had give birth to a black baby and to a friend in France that 'he was so dark that she was ashamed of him'. She would send his portrait 'as soon as he is a littler fairer'. But Charles never did become fairer. Later the sobriquet 'the Black Boy' would be used, still commemorated in English inn signs.

There was definitely a strain of very dark, swarthy Italian blood in the French royal family, inherited through Marie de Medici, which might and did emerge from time to time. Anne of Austria, wife of Henrietta Maria's brother Louis XIII, was said to have given birth to a baby having the 'colour and visage of a blackamoor', which died a month after its birth. In 1664 another Queen of France, wife of Charles' first cousin Louis, was supposed to have given birth to a black child. There was even a 'fanatic' fantasy at the time of the Popish Plot in the 1670s, that Charles had been fathered on Henrietta Maria by a 'black Scotsman' - a neat combination of the two prejudices of the tiime, against the Catholics and the Scots. So it became convenient to refer to the then King as that 'black Bastard'.

Of the many grandchildren of Marie de Medici, Charles was the only one to look purely Italian; the rest being in general both frailer and paler. But his appearance was certainly a complete throwback to his Italian ancestors, the Medici Dukes of Tuscany. Directly descended as he was from Lorenzo the Magnificent there is a striking resemblance in their portraits. Bishop Burnet, alluding to Charles' Italianate appearance and intending to make a political point concerning tyranny, comparing the King to a statue of Tiberius. Marvell was presumably describing the same phenomenon when he described Charles as

Of a tall stature and of sable hue
Much like the son of Kish, that lofty Jew

It is not obvious from the excerpt, but the Anne of Austria, wife of Henrietta Maria's brother Louis XIII, who was said to have given birth to a baby having the 'colour and visage of a blackamoor' was the mother of Louis XIV, making the baby with the 'colour and visage of a blackamoor' the older brother of Louis XIV. So to put it another way, the older brother of Louis XIV who died a month after birth had the 'colour and visage of a blackamoor' . He probably isn’t called a “brother” because some cultures require a child to live to a certain age to become a “person”.

The black child supposed to have been born to another Queen of France, wife of Charles' first cousin Louis is the woman below.

Louise Marie Thérèse (The Black Nun of Moret)

Louise Marie Thérèse (The Black Nun of Moret) - Wikipedia
There are those who believe that rather than being the daughter of Louis XIV she was the product of a relationship between Queen Marie-Therese and her pet dwarf Nabo. The problem is if that was the case and Queen Marie-Therese was the pure white woman depicted in her portraits the child should have had the usual “yella” mulatto complexion. Keeping in mind she had the same four grandparents as her husband, making them virtually brother and sister, and the girl more or less the niece of Louis XIV. Now how could a pure white king have black niece from her pure white sister, rather than the expected mulatto?

In the case of Charles II are we supposed to believe that the boy who was so dark his own mother said “he was so dark that she was ashamed of him” and never got lighter is the boy portrayed here -

Charles II as a Boy

or is he the one alluded to this portrait of his daughter, Lady Charlotte Fitzroy?

The observant will notice that the boy in the painting of Lady Charlotte Fitzroy is very much what you would see of the boy above if his face were painted brown.

What of this painting by Jacques d’Agar? It is a painting of Louise de Keroualle, Duchess of Portsmouth, mistress of Charles II, and former lady-in-waiting for the sister of Charles II, Henrietta of England, wife of Phillipe (younger brother of Louis XIV).

Note the boy in front wearing the semblance of a crown on his head, holding the crown pointing upwards “through the hole” so to speak, below a part of the gown made to resemble or concealing an outstretched leg of the duchess. And behind is another boy spying on from behind the pillar which has a fleur-de-lis wrapped around it. You can rest assured that this not the only painting of a mistress of Charles II or Louis XIV featuring a black boy in it.

The point I’m trying to make is that Queen Sophia Charlotte is not the only European royal or aristocrat described as dark or black, and if she was the endogamous nature of Europe’s royals virtually guarantees that she wasn’t the only one.

I believe the focus on her alone is essentially a red herring.

Queen Victoria and Daughters

Here is one of the earliest photographs of a young Queen Victoria, granddaughter of Queen Sophia Charlotte, from the early days of photography, around 1840. She looks very much the gipsy as you can see.

Queen Victoria

This is another photograph of Queen Victoria with her daughters and grand daughters, from the Royal Collection

The brown girl in the background is her granddaughter by her daughter Viktoria, Empress of Prussia and Frederick III, Emperor. Did I mention that Sophia Charlotte was directly descended from the “not so white” Albert and Dorothea? Note that all of them are probably descended from Albert and Dorothea by more than one ancestor as a result of what may politely described as “endogamy”. The contemporary Duchess Donata below is directly descended from two daughters of Queen Victoria. Our royals until very very recently (Katie Middleton and Meghan Markle) have tried to keep the bloodlines as “original” as possible.

This is what makes the statement that some Portuguese princess from the 12th or 13th century is one of her “16 thousand Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandmothers” totally asinine. Even the prejudiced ignoramuses who made that quote on her wikipedia page have edited it out.

Here is another photo of Princess Viktoria (apparently from the same session):

Queen Sophia Charlotte

Now back to Queen Charlotte. I believe she is the young black woman portrayed below. It depicts a 17 year old Charlotte, and it is a detail from a painting made on the year of her wedding by a renowned court painter.

Queen Sophie Charlotte as depicted by Sir Joshua Reynolds

Queen Charlotte, 1761

I leave it to the more astute AND determined reader to locate the original painting this detail comes from, and why I have good reason to believe it to be a true likeness or depiction of Sophia Charlotte. Readers may also compare the features of this young black woman, with other paintings of Sophia Charlotte to see if they are a good match. I would say that other than the purity of her complexion in this depiction, there are some with features which are a good match.

More portraits/paintings

Queen Sophia Charlotte

This one below is interesting because it depicts the bulge on her throat clearly, the same bulge depicted on the coin, ie the Barbados Penny and its variants. The pearls and her chokers (sometimes made of pearls) is what she used to conceal it.

Queen Sophie Charlotte

Below is my original answer which I have left unchanged, in case there are some of the purported depictions are a good match for the detail above. I will add some more portraits of her later for comparison with the above.

My Original Answer

Yes she was black. People may not be aware but lots of royal paintings bear no true resemblance to the subjects, and these facts are noted by contemporary historians. She is the person portrayed in this coin -

Barbados Penny featuring Queen Charlotte

Here is a comparison of the coin with some kind of jewel which shows her as well. (It is actually a picture on a game token)

Queen Charlotte - Game token compared with Barbados Penny

That the painting on the left depicts her is a matter of record from the Royal Collection. When you consider the date of the coin and the possible candidates for the two people depicted on it, she and King George were the only candidates. You can tell they are the same person from the unusual strip of skin joining the upper lip to the tip of the nose. It is one of the features which caused her to be considered unattractive.

As to whether she was actually black, here is the real issue. To be an European royal is to be black by definition. There is such thing as a white European royal. All European nobility are actually light-skinned blacks, something guaranteed by their endogamy, and some of the traits are very visible to this very day. If you have any doubts look up some pictures of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard II, Henri and Isabella of Angouleme at Fontevraud Abbey. None of them are white, and you see the same variation of complexions that you will see in black families today, and no the paints haven’t deteriorated. They are preserved well enough for you to see that those are the original pigments.

As for the present day here is Duchess Donata of Mecklenburg, a direct descendant of Queen Charlotte, by two daughters of Queen Victoria, grandaughter of Queen Charlotte.

Duchess Donata of Mecklenburg

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