Princess Michael of Kent has apologised for wearing an offensive piece of jewellery to lunch with Meghan Markle at Buckingham Palace earlier this week.
The royal, who is married to the Queen's cousin Prince Michael, was photographed wearing a brooch in the "Blackamoor" style as she drove into the palace.
The "Blackamoor" genre of jewellery and artwork was popular in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It tended to depict dark-skinned people, mostly men, in subservient roles such as servants or slaves.
Nowadays, it's widely considered to be highly racially insensitive at best - and at worst, plain racist. After Princess Michael was called out on social media for wearing the brooch, a spokesperson issued a statement on her behalf, saying: "The brooch was a gift and has been worn many times before. Princess Michael is very sorry and distressed that it has caused offence."
An unnamed source told The Telegraph there was "no malice at all" to Princess Michael's decision to wear the brooch to a lunch she knew Markle would be attending. The BBC adds that "it is understood the princess will not wear the brooch in future." Let's hope this really was the piece's final outing, and the princess understands why wearing it has caused such offence.
Markle and Princess Michael were reportedly not sat at the same table during the lunch, but they will probably have come face-to-face and been introduced at the intimate gathering. They are set to become neighbours when Markle moves in with Prince Harry at Nottingham Cottage, a property in the grounds of Kensington Palace, where Princess Michael has an apartment.
Shortly after announcing his relationship with Markle in November 2016, Prince Harry criticised the UK press for introducing "racial undertones" into its coverage of their romance and Markle's background. Kensington Palace said in a statement at the time: "His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment. Some of this has been very public. The smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments."
The statement also urged "those in the press that have been driving this story" to "pause and reflect before any further damage is done."