The official engagement photo of Harry Windsor and Meghan Markle taken by Alexi Lubomirski was released by Kensington Palace on Thursday. Lubomirski is based in NYC, but he spent a lot of his childhood in South Africa. Prince Harry’s African charity Sentebale: The Princes’ Fund for Lesotho, gives help to children orphaned by HIV/AIDS in the South African nation.
Lubomirski, like Harry, is a royal. The photographer is a prince of the Polish House of Lubomirski. His official title is His Serene Highness Prince Alexi. Lubomiski:
“It was an incredible honor to be asked to document this wonderful event, but also a great privilege to be invited to share and be a witness to this young couple’s love for each other. I cannot help but smile when I look at the photos that we took off them, such was their happiness together.”
The shots were done at Frogmore House in Windsor, UK. Frogmore House is a 17th-century English country house owned by the Crown Estate. Located a half mile from Windsor Castle, Frogmore was let to tenants until the late 18th century, when it was used as a residence for members of the royal family. The house is currently uninhabited, but it is used by the royal family to host both private and official events.
But, oops, there one little snafu during a Holiday luncheon. A member of the royal family showed up wearing a racist piece of jewelry. It’s unclear whether Princess Michael Of Kent wore the item in front of Markle, especially after the American actor has written about the challenges of being the child of a white father and African-American mother.
The piece worn by Princess Michael is a European art style known as “blackamoor” that goes back at least to the 16th century. It depicts the bodies and faces of dark-skinned people from North Africa and the Middle East. The style is now considered dated, offensive and a fetishization of black people, It romanticizes slavery. Blackamoor imagery was a trend in the decorative arts that refers to the history of slaves in Europe and the way in which the European luxury culture objectified black bodies as mere ornament.
Dolce & Gabbana faced fierce criticism after it debuted a 2013 spring collection featuring blackamoor earrings and prints.
Princess Michael issued a statement yesterday through her representative:
“The brooch was a gift and had been worn many times before. Princess Michael is very sorry and distressed that it has caused offense.”
The halfhearted apology suggests that she did not intend to offend anyone with her brooch, yet the Christmas lunch isn’t the first time she has been accused of being racially insensitive. In 2004, while dining out in NYC, she yelled: “…go back to the colonies” to a table of black diners, according The NY Times at the time.
Markle has not publicly responded to the controversy, but she has been vocal in the past about the racism she and her family have faced.
But, back to Lubomirski. Here, the friendly photographer offers a personal introduction in a YouTube video: