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 Queen Charlotte was ‘person of colour’, museum claims in LGBT guide

Queen Charlotte portrayed with her two eldest sons in 1769 - Heritage Images

Queen Charlotte portrayed with her two eldest sons in 1769 - Heritage Images© Provided by The Telegraph

Queen Charlotte was a “person of colour”, a museum’s LGBT audio guide has wrongly claimed.

The audio guide for the Royal Museums Greenwich tells visitors that despite what “insecure white boys” have said, George III’s wife was the first British royal from a non-white background.

Queen Charlotte’s purported ethnicity has been sidelined because of “structural racism”, according to the guide, which states that she was a “person of colour”.

While Queen Charlotte was depicted as mixed-race in the Netflix series Bridgerton, there is consensus among historians that she was white.

Inaccurate claims about her race are made in an LGBT-themed history trail of the Queen’s House in Greenwich, one of four sites under the control of the taxpayer-supported group Royal Museums Greenwich.

The history trail with its own online audio guide was created for Royal Museums Greenwich by Christian Adore, a self-declared “homosexual historian” seeking to share “deliciously gay stories” from the past.

 In a section of the downloadable guide dedicated to a large golden sculpture of Queen Charlotte, it states: “Queen Charlotte, the nation’s first royal person of colour.

“Yep, you heard me. The insecure white boys writing history conveniently forget to mention that bit, because… well, structural racism.”


This section of the guide refers to a large figurehead depicting Queen Charlotte, which was once attached to the royal yacht HMY Royal Charlotte, and which is now displayed in the Queen’s House in Greenwich, a former royal residence and naval hospital.

Queen Charlotte was born to a German princely dynasty in 1744, and married the future King George III in 1761. 

Hit Netflix series Bridgerton depicted the queen as a mixed-race woman, and repeated the casting decision in the prequel, Queen Charlotte.

Claims about the race of Queen Charlotte hinge on one passage from the memoir of a German diplomat, who described the royal as being born looking like a “mulatto” or mixed-race person. 

The diplomat, Baron Stockmar, was born 43 years after Queen Charlotte’s birth and would have had no knowledge of her appearance, which was never in her lifetime described as that of a mixed-race person.

‘A very gay tour’

The “Fierce Royals” guide promises a “a very gay tour” of the Queen’s House, which was given as a gift to Queen Anne by James I in 1636 as an apology for an argument.


The guide picks out the bisexuality of James I as one of its “deliciously gay stories”, and states that Charles II, known for his string of mistresses, had a “progressive, genuinely modern understanding of relationships in the 1660s”.

Royal Museums Greenwich has made efforts to reach a broader and more diverse audience in recent years, and new displays at its largest site, the Nation Maritime Museum, have reflected this strategy.


In one interactive display, a bust of Lord Nelson is berated by a “migrant goddess” figure, who tells heroic British admirals to “move over” to make room for “unsung heroes of the sea”.

The audiovisual display states that the “bravery and resilience” of Nelson, who was killed during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, is also shared by others, including migrants who make sea crossings.

The guide refers to a large figurehead depicting Queen Charlotte, which was once attached to the royal yacht HMY Royal Charlotte
The guide refers to a large figurehead depicting Queen Charlotte, which was once attached to the royal yacht HMY Royal Charlotte© Provided by The Telegraph

In 2021, it was revealed that the National Maritime Museum had disowned its slavery gallery, saying displays in its Atlantic exhibition “no longer reflect” its vision. 

Royal Museums Greenwich, which receives government grants, has said that the guide was intended to be light-hearted.

A spokesman for the museum said: “The Fierce Royals pieces were performed in the Queen’s House, delivered by a number of performance artists, during LGBTQ+ History Month and part of an evening of light-hearted entertainment, and later added to our website for the enjoyment of those who could not come on the night. 

“As part of the Fierce Queens event that the tour is based on, we had a black performer playing Queen Charlotte, which is why this segment was included in the tour.

“It was not written by or performed by members of RMG staff and as a performance piece, was not ‘fact checked’.” 

Story by Craig Simpson: The Telegraph: 

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