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Clutching at straws

Even the most ardent royalist must blanch whenever the name Princess Michael is mentioned, usually in the context of her imagined importance and persistent ignorance. Her latest faux pas, involving a so-called blackamoor brooch worn in the company of Ms Markle, prompted me to investigate further.

And I found this well-crafted article – which says it all.


  1. December 26, 2017 at 11:41 am

    I don’t know what the fuss is about. It’s a nice brooch and the subject looks very dignified. Not demeaning to anyone.

  2. December 26, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    Unless you are black, from slave ancestors, Jazz!

  3. December 27, 2017 at 9:35 am

    So any ornament depicting a dark skinned person is deemed to be associated with slavery and thus offensive ???

  4. December 27, 2017 at 9:47 am

    Jazz: Not necessarily. The Blackamoor tradition is one of depicting Africans in an infantile, demeaning light. There are others, even from that time, who might not have been the best artists or the most culturally aware but they were not insulting. Nota bene, people were just as insulting in their depictions of the impoverished majority and weren’t entirely kind to their ruling classes, either.

  5. December 27, 2017 at 10:45 am

    Jazz, it’s easy: the brooch depicts a house slave; it has a social meaning known to people with any awareness of history; it is offensive, not decorative; this daughter of an SS officer probably knows its significance but wears it anyway.

  6. December 27, 2017 at 11:11 am

    Janus: You mean the daughter of a Sydney hair salon owner who spent her life arguing that 900 years of breeding ought to mean more than present reality? That is, someone who was essentially working class might try to overcompensate by ensuring that every Tom, Dick and Meghan knows his/her “rightful” place?

  7. December 27, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Spot on! 🙂

  8. December 27, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    How do you know it depicts a house servant. He looks a bit overdressed for that.

  9. December 27, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    Jazz: Because that’s what they were based on. House slaves were generally well-dressed and clean. They were expected to be such as their owners didn’t want to see the wretched conditions that slaves who toiled outside had to survive.

  10. December 27, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    So not one toiling on a sugar plantation then ?

    Of course on the slavery issue my own conscience is quite clean. Like everyone now alive I had nothing to do with it. Princess Michael’s brooch is no more than a curiosity and anyone offended by it should get a life.

  11. December 27, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    You are all heart, Jazz.

  12. December 27, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    Jazz: Well, not harvesting the cane in any case. Plantation life was a combination of brilliant gentility and brutal degradation. It really depended on which end of the lash one found oneself, really.

    Your conscience is clean and clean it should be. As with most things, slavery was a product of its time, place and situation. No one alive today was a slave, nor even alive at the same time that anyone who had been born a slave in the British Empire was alive. Feeling guilty about it is an extremely sanctimonious form of masochism. The brooch was in very poor taste, but many things are in very poor taste. Life goes on, etc. This is nothing but another social media-driven kerfuffle du jour.

  13. December 28, 2017 at 6:37 am

    That’s the thing about taste – you either got it or you don’t got it – and Princess Pushy don’t!

  14. December 28, 2017 at 9:56 am

    Janus: Oh, come on! Don’t be so harsh on the poor dear. She is consistent and that is a virtue, isn’t it?

  15. December 28, 2017 at 9:59 am

    OK,OK, it’s nearly New Year – be nice to plonkers time, innit?

  16. December 28, 2017 at 10:21 am

    So long as they’re not named Jean-Claude Drunky Junky. 😉

  17. sheona
    December 28, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    I really don’t know why you’re getting in such a state, Janus. I’ve never thought of Princess Michael as being bright enough to think things through. If you want to get upset, try Libya where the buying and selling of slaves is still going ahead full steam. That’s the original Arab/muslim slave traders for you. Of course they might reasonably feel that the hordes of sub-Saharans are invading their country and can be treated as enemies.But do be careful that you’re not turning into a snowflake.

  18. December 28, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Moi? In a state? I do like to pull royalist legs though. 🙂

  19. December 30, 2017 at 7:09 am

    Pity our ‘Arry has put his royal foot in it by implying his Intended’s family is more dysfunctional than one’s own!

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