Princess Michael of Kent sorry for wearing 'racist' brooch

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Princess Michael of Kent with the blackamoor broochImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Princess Michael of Kent was pictured wearing the brooch after attending the Queen's annual Christmas banquet at Buckingham Palace

Princess Michael of Kent has apologised for wearing a brooch that critics have called "racist".

The royal, who married the Queen's first cousin, attended a Christmas banquet at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday wearing a blackamoor brooch.

Prince Harry's fiancée, Meghan Markle, who is mixed-race, was also a guest at the lunch.

A spokesman said the princess "is very sorry and distressed that it has caused offence".

Blackamoor figures and sculptures are exotic figures which usually depict African men and were prominent in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The brooch is a bust of an African man

The brooch, coupled with the fact that Princess Michael will have met Ms Markle at the lunch, has sparked controversy on social media websites.

Image source, Twitter
Image source, Twitter

Spokesman Simon Astaire added: "The brooch was a gift and has been worn many times before."

It is understood the princess will not wear the brooch in future.

Who is Princess Michael of Kent?

Image source, Getty Images

Princess Michael of Kent was born Baroness Marie Christine von Reibnitz in 1945, in the German-populated Sudetenland - now sitting in the Czech Republic.

She was born shortly before the end of the World War Two, in which her father served as a major in the Nazi SS.

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After her first marriage to English banker Thomas Troubridge ended, she married Prince Michael of Kent - the first cousin of the Queen - in a civil ceremony in Vienna, Austria, in 1978,

She was then given the title Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent as, because she was not of royal birth, she could not become Princess Marie Christine.

The couple have two children - Lord Frederick Windsor and Lady Gabriella Windsor.

She worked as an interior designer, before becoming an author, specialising in books on European royalty.