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Princess Michael of Kent 'very sorry' about wearing controversial brooch to Queen's Christmas lunch

The Princess plans to retire the accessory

Chloe Best

Princess Michael of Kent has said she is "very sorry and distressed" about wearing a controversial blackamoor brooch to the Queen's Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace. The 72-year-old was accused of being racially insensitive by wearing the accessory for the royal occasion, where she was said to be meeting Prince Harry's fiancé Meghan Markle for the first time.

Simon Astaire, the spokesman for Princess Michael of Kent, said: "The brooch was a gift and has been worn many times before. Princess Michael is very sorry and distressed that it has caused offence." It has been understood that Princess Michael will no longer wear the accessory.

GALLERY: Meet the Queen's extended family who attended Christmas lunch

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Princess Michael of Kent was seen wearing a blackamoor brooch

Blackamoor art dates back to the 18th century, but has been the subject of controversy for many years due to the way it depicts men and women of colour. In recent years there have even been petitions for galleries and hotels to remove them from display.

The Queen's annual Christmas lunch would have been the first time Prince Harry introduced his fiancé Meghan Markle to many extended members of his family, including Lady Sarah Chatto, the Queen's niece, and Princess Alexandra, the Queen's cousin. Harry, 33, was seen driving his bride-to-be towards the palace gates on Wednesday lunchtime, with the actress looking typically stylish in a chic Self-Portrait midi dress which she teamed with dazzling diamond earrings and flawless make-up.

MORE: 10 things you need to know about Princess Michael of Kent

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Princess Michael apologised for any offence caused by the accessory

Other guests at the family event included the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their children Prince George and Princess Charlotte, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, and Prince Charles and Camilla.

The meal provides the opportunity for the entire royal family to meet up before the Queen travels to Sandringham for her traditional Christmas break with the Duke of Edinburgh. It has been confirmed that Meghan will spend Christmas with the royals for the first time, and will join her future in-laws for the Christmas Day church service on the Queen's private estate.