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Meghan Markle isn’t the first mixed race royal - a mum-of-15 got there first

Readers Lounge By The Mirror
Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle (left) and Queen Charlotte, pictured in 1781 (Courtesy)

Meghan Markle has been celebrated as the first mixed-race woman to marry into the British royal family.

But a queen in fact became the first British biracial royal lady in the 18th Century, it has now emerged.

Queen Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who lived from 1744 to 1818, was the youngest daughter of Duke Charles Louis Frederick and Duchess Elizabeth Albertine.

After she wed George III in 1761, she gave birth to 15 children.

"I don't think a prisoner could wish more ardently for his liberty than I wish to be rid of my burden and see the end of my campaign. I would be happy if I knew this was the last time," she wrote in 1780 about her pregnancy with her 14th child, Prince Alfred.

Prince Alfred only lived two years after a battle with the smallpox virus.

Charlotte had 15 children with George III (Courtesy)

And Prince Octavius, who was 19 months Prince Alfred's senior, also died of smallpox in 1783.

The queen struggled to grieve after the deaths.

In the note, addressed to one Lady Charlotte Finch, Queen Charlotte wrote, "Receive this urn as an acknowledgement for your very affectionate attendance upon my dear little angel Alfred, and wear the enclosed hair, not only in remembrance of that dear object, but also as a mark of esteem from your affectionate Queen Charlotte."

Queen Charlotte, who was a huge fan of classical composers, had black relatives in the Portuguese royal family.

Mario De Valdes y Cocom, a historian, said: "The [black African]... 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."

While Charlotte had 15 kids, Prince Harry recently stressed he wants "two maximum".

Meghan, 37, told Elle magazine she identifies as biracial; her father is white, and her mother is black.

"My dad is Caucasian and my mum is African American. I'm half black and half white," she said.

But she conceded she was "scared" to talk about her heritage.

Harry and Meghan Markle welcomed son Archie in May (Image: Samir Hussein/WireImage)

The Duchess told the publication: "It's easy to talk about which make-up I prefer, my favourite scene I've filmed, the rigmarole of 'a day in the life' and how much green juice I consume before a requisite pilates class."

Meghan's father Thomas Markle Snr met her mum Doria Ragland in the 1970s.

They married and Meghan was born in 1981 in Los Angeles, California.

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