Was Queen Charlotte Black? Exploring Her Royal Lineage and Ethnicity

Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III, is debated for her possible African ancestry from the Portuguese Royal family.

Queen Charlotte’s Heritage and the Debate on Her Ancestry

The lineage of Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III, has sparked significant debate.

Historians and genealogists have scrutinized her ancestry, looking at royal lineage, historical portraits, and accounts that suggest a connection to African heritage.

Historical Background and Marriage to King George III

Queen Charlotte, born as Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, was a German princess before marrying King George III.

She became queen consort in 1761, cementing a dynastic alliance.

Despite a quickly arranged marriage — the couple met for the first time on their wedding day — they shared a fruitful union with fifteen children.

Claims of African Ancestry

The claims of Queen Charlotte’s African ancestry trace back to a historian Mario de Valdes y Cocom, who proposed that she descended from the Black branch of the Portuguese Royal family.

This includes Alfonso III and his concubine Madragana, a Moor, whose lineage is argued to extend to Charlotte through the marriage of their son to Margarita de Castro y Sousa.

Given this ancestry, some historians and genealogists suggest her features in historical portraits reveal a possible mulatto face, although these claims remain debated within academic circles.

Queen Charlotte’s Cultural Impact and Representation

Queen Charlotte's cultural impact shown through diverse art, music, and literature.</p><p>Representation of her as a black queen celebrated in portraits and historical texts

Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III, has garnered significant attention for her alleged multiracial heritage and her contributions to the arts and botany.

Her life and legacy have been shaped by both historical accounts and modern representations in media.

Influence in Arts and Botany

Queen Charlotte had a profound impact on the arts and botanical studies.

She was an avid patron of music, famously supporting composers such as George Frideric Handel and being an instrumental figure in his appointment as the music master for the royal children.

Her enthusiasm for botany was not just a hobby but also an intellectual pursuit.

She funded the elaborate expansion of Kew Gardens, turning it into a center of botanical research and a symbol of the British Empire’s reach, housing plant species from around the world, including the American colonies and India.

Portrayal in Media and Literature

The depiction of Queen Charlotte in media has evolved over time, with recent portrayals highlighting her lineage’s possible ties to a 15th-century Portuguese noblewoman of African descent.

Shows like Netflix’s “Bridgerton,” with actresses Golda Rosheuvel and India Amarteifio portraying her, bring the debate about her race into the public forum, suggesting her role as Britain’s first mixed-race queen.

Literature has also examined her life, influencing works such as Sir Walter Scott’s novels and the PBS Frontline documentary detailing the royal family’s lineage.

These depictions often explore themes of race and society, drawing connections between Queen Charlotte’s ancestry and contemporary figures such as Meghan Markle.