Here are four things you may or may not know about Britain’s first Black queen:
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1. Queen Charlotte, the eighth child of DukeCharles Louis Frederick and Elizabeth Albertine, was born on May 19, 1744, according to PBS Frontline. She descended from Margarita de Castro y Sousa, a Black branch of the Portuguese Royal House, the report says. Queen Charlotte eventually married King George III and bore 15 children, 13 of whom survived, African-American Registry writes. She is the great, great, great-grandmother to Queen Elizabeth II.
2. Artists who depicted the Queen were told to downplay her African features for fear of revealing the monarch’s history of intermixing and inbreeding, writes Frontline: “The Negroid characteristics of the Queen’s portraits certainly had political significance since artists of that period were expected to play down, soften or even obliterate undesirable features in a subject’s face.” She was an avid supporter of the arts and a novice botanist, and helped found Kew Gardens, a leading institution in plant biology, according to the Registry.
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3. Johann Christian Bach was reportedly a friend and supporter of Queen Charlotte, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart dedicated his Opus 3 in her honor, the Registry writes.
4. Queen Charlotte died on November 17, 1818, but her legacy lives on in America-––the city of Charlotte, North Carolina, or the “Queen City,” is named in her honor, according to the Atlanta Black Star.