By Aya Elamroussi, Special to the AFRO
The royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle has been making headlines as the big day approaches this Saturday, May 19.
But May 19 is also special because it’s the birthday of the first biracial royal queen of England, Queen Sophia Charlotte.
“The royal family looked all over Europe for a young lady to be [King George III’s] wife, and Charlotte rose to the top because she was so smart,” Dr. Stephanie E. Myers told the AFRO.
Myers wrote the book Invisible Queen, which examines Charlotte’s lineage and her history, after accidently seeing a picture of the queen on the internet captioned, “queen of England for 57 years.” After much research, Myers found that the queen had African Moorish descent. The book is exclusively sold on the author’s website, myerspublishing.com.
A PBS report also says that Queen Charlotte was directly descended from Margarita de Castro y Sousa, a Black branch of the Portuguese Royal House.
Born in Germany in a noble family, Queen Charlotte was recruited to marry English King George III in the 1700s. Married at 17, she had 15 children, 2 of whom died in infancy, according to Myers.
In the 1700s, Myers spoke four languages, read extensively and had what is equivalent to today’s high school education.
Queen Charlotte was also an anti-slavery activist and an abolitionist, according to Myers. She protested the sugar plantation that thrived off the free labor of African slaves in the anti-Saccharine Movement in the late 1700s, according to Myers.
“She had Moorish Black heritage, and she was the Queen of England– the most powerful country in the world at that time,” Myers told the AFRO. “It’s important that Black people understand that we have played a role in world history. A role larger than being people [who] were seized, kidnapped and put in slavery in America.”
Myers also said that Queen Charlotte helped establish the first hospital for poor women to birth their babies and provided support to orphans, the inventor of the smallpox vaccine and was one of the first people to recognize Mozart’s talent as a composer.
“Public service was a part of her personality,” Myers told the AFRO.
Myers said that Markle, who will wed on Queen Charlotte’s birthday and follow her legacy, has also shown she’s dedicated to public service.
“Now that Meghan is going to become a woman of mixed race heritage in the royal family, Meghan will stand on the shoulders of Queen Charlotte.”