The Cambridges ‘hid’ the name of one of their paintings before the Obama visit

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*Note: the painting up for discussion is the painting seen behind Michelle Obama and the Duchess of Cambridge in this ^^ photo.

When the Obamas had dinner at Kensington Palace with the younger royals, the media suddenly got access to an assortment of photos of William and Kate’s “apartment” following their lengthy and expensive renovation. The renovation was completed several years ago, but Will and Kate have never given the media a glimpse into how they renovated or decorated the apartment (which is basically a mansion within a palace). People were excited to see the details within the Cambridges’ sitting room, the art they chose for their walls, and the casual way they displayed their mid-range liquor. You can see all of the Daily Mail’s analysis on the photos here. There are some eagle-eyed people working at the Daily Mail, that’s all I’ll say. Personally, I don’t have a problem with the Lucite table in general… if there were other modern details in the room. But it just seemed like a hodge-podge of styles with no real rhyme or reason.

But as eagle-eyed royal-watchers continue to pore over every detail of the photos, someone noticed that something was amiss regarding one of the paintings in the sitting room. A lamp and a plant had been placed in front of one of the larger paintings. But why?

The word ‘negro’ had to be removed from a painting inside Kensington Palace at the last minute before the Obamas arrived for their informal dinner with the royals. The U.S. President and First Lady were just moments away from being entertained by Prince William, Duchess Kate and Prince Harry on Friday night, when an eagle-eyed assistant spotted a plaque, which named the piece of art ‘The Negro Page’.

A frantic removal reportedly took place inside the drawing room to avoid causing offence to the American couple. A pot plant was also put in place to cover where the plaque would have been.

A source told The Sun: ‘Imagine the horror when someone spotted the N-word.’

The dramatic painting on one of the walls – A page With Two Horses, by Albert Cuyp, from The Royal Collection – features a black servant boy in a landscape from 1660. It is also known as The Negro Page. Mail on Sunday art critic Philip Hensher says the work, from the Golden Age of Dutch painting, would particularly appeal to a History of Art graduate, such as Kate.

A Kensington Palace spokesman declined to comment on the reports last night.

[From The Daily Mail]

You can see a close-up of the painting here. The painting is… not what I would choose for my sitting room? I mean, there are some amazing works of art in the Royal Collection, and the Cambridges chose that one for their sitting room and I can’t really understand why. As for the name of the painting… in my mind, “negro” isn’t the n-word, it’s just an outdated word, a historical relic of a bygone age. There’s a 1660-era context for the name of the painting, and I sort of think the Obamas would have understood completely. That being said, there would have been an awkward moment if Pres. Obama leaned it to read the plaque and was like, “Oh, that’s interesting, Michelle, come and look at this!”

KP1

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Photos courtesy of Pacific Coast News, @KensingtonRoyal Twitter.

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251 Responses to “The Cambridges ‘hid’ the name of one of their paintings before the Obama visit”

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  1. Alix says:

    The real question is, how many table lamps can you fit in a single room???

    • Lisa says:

      LOL! No kidding. That was the first thing I noticed too.

    • Shambles says:

      SO. MANY. LAMPS.

      They’re energized about lamps.

    • Dena says:

      The number of lamps. Period. That’s what caught my eye too. And there could be more!! Lord. Isn’t there a show on HGTV called Save This Room? They need it. Lol.

    • Livvers says:

      Didn’t the really rich households used to have one or two servants solely responsible for lighting and snuffing candles and oil lamps? I thought about that when I saw all those table lamps, and wondered if Kate and Wills have hired their own lamp sycophant to follow them around the palace, turning all their table lamps off and on again.

      • rose says:

        Clearly they love lamp

      • doofus says:

        rose FTW! thanks for the morning laugh!

        what I also noticed about the lamps, besides the sheer number, is that most of them are kinda ugly.

      • MinnFinn says:

        I predict there is a ‘yeoman of the lamps’ in Kate’s future. Brenda has at least one full-time person whose only job is to wind and set all of her clocks. And she also has a small staff just for her crystal and china whose titles are ‘yeoman of the glass’, assistant YOG etc.

      • Shambles says:

        @ Rose and Mia

        LOUD NOISES.

        (I love you guys for bringing Anchorman into my life this morning)

      • Esmom says:

        Ha, I can imagine it but I learned during my last house renovation that the outlets for table lamps can be connected to switches, making life so much easier especially if you have a plethora of table lamps. Guests do get confused, though, not thinking that a table lamp would be connected to the wall switch. It takes some getting used to.

      • Amy Tennant says:

        LOL ROSE!!! Best comment ever!

    • Mel M says:

      Ugh yes! The room is not what I expected after they spent so much time and money on renovations. The room just doesn’t flow and things feel thrown in last minute. The daily mail identified the pictures in the frames in the tables and they are quite odd choices. Idk, I just don’t have any pictures of just myself sitting around in frames.

      • SKF says:

        ThE decor is AWFUL! I could do so much with their money and resources… You can mix old and new styles beautifully, but it takes care and a talent for interior design. This is just a mess.

    • mytake says:

      The lamps may have been there for photography reasons.

      • AntsOffTheScent says:

        Far too reasonable of a response for this thread

      • Seraphina says:

        I thought the same thing, but wouldn’t professional photographers be able to alleviate lighting problem with their flash?

        Plus, it really does look ridiculous.

      • ohdear says:

        I remember Sarah Ferguson saying that Kensington Palace was a really restrictive place to live because of all the rules. The blinds all had to be the same height across one side of the palace, usually 30% up and the lightbulbs had to be 60Watts. So maybe so many lamps to keep the inside lit?

      • LAK says:

        Ohdear: Fergie said that about BP NOT KP. The reason was because their apartment rooms were at the front of the palace, the same side as the Trooping of the colour balcony.

        All the rooms on that said of the palace have to be uniformly lit, and window shades kept at the same part of the window.

        The tourists who visit see a pleasant facade with uniform windows at all times!!

      • ohdear says:

        thanks @LAK – so nope, I can’t help her out with the over-abundance of lights. ; )

    • marmalazed says:

      HA!!!

    • artpunk44 says:

      There must be many plaques or assorted things for them to cover, with all those lamps! So many lamps . . .

      • AtlLady says:

        (hanging my head to admit with shame) I have 4 table lamps in my bedroom. I like a lot of light.

  2. Eleonor says:

    They are sooo like us, that this looks exactly like my own place. I swear it on my pearls, that are as real as Kim K. face.

  3. Megan says:

    If the DM wants to write fan fiction about the dinner, it should be something about George punching the rocking horse.

  4. Emma33 says:

    Interesting comparison between Kate and MO in that first photo. Kate looks uncomfortable and fakely-interested in the conversation , and MO looks completely relaxed and engaged (even though it’s Kate’s apartment she is in!)

    • Magnoliarose says:

      I noticed this too and it speaks volumes. Michelle is an intelligent accomplished woman with loads of sophistication and charisma. Kate is not. It just highlights all of the things she lacks for this position.

      • stella says:

        really? She doesn’t look or sound sophisticated. Just because she has a law degree doesn’t make her smart or sophisticated. Sorry.

      • Aiobhan says:

        @Stella Yes, her undergraduate years at Princeton and law degree from Harvard Law does make her very smart. Her charity work and commitment to making this world a better place puts her in a very high standing.

        What are you doing?

      • Betsy says:

        I agree. Mrs. Obama is very well educated and a deeply mature person. I a, going to miss her very much!

      • Nic919 says:

        To even suggest that Michelle Obama is not smart or sophisticated despite her Princeton and Harvard degrees, years as a lawyer, hospital administrator and managing all the charitable programs she does is just straight up racist.

      • Olenna says:

        Stella is trolling. No valid argument, fact or logical reasoning will prevail when you’re dealing with people who dislike or despise the Obamas.

      • Who ARE these people? says:

        More about the gifted Ms. Obama’s education and career can be found here: http://www.biography.com/people/michelle-obama-307592

        And I agree about the trolling.

      • DiamondGirl says:

        Not referring to Mrs. O, but someone can be smart yet not sophisticated. Mayim Bialik has a PhD but I wouldn’t consider her sophisticated.

        Sophistication is more attitude or personality, I think.

      • teacakes says:

        @stella – neither Magnoliarose nor Emma33 mentioned Mrs Obama’s law degree as a reason why they considered her sophisticated, you are the one who projected that into the discussion.

        And sophistication doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with formal education. On the few occasions I’ve heard her speak, Michelle Obama sounds like a smart woman to me, and that’s because she comes across as mature and intelligent, not because she went to Ivy League colleges. (I know quite a few people who went to Ivy League colleges and are completely lacking in charisma or sophistication.

      • notasugarhere says:

        It is a theme creeping in to royal watching lately, the attacking of the Obamas, Michelle especially. Her open fondness for Harry will be shown again at the upcoming Invictus Games and that upsets from W&K fans.

        There are some W&K fans out there who have decided that Michelle must be attacked too. They have to put people down try so hard to raise up the lazy duo. There are fans running around online insisting Michelle is not intelligent, accomplished, “ladylike”, or “demure” in comparison to Middleton.

        So much bashing, so little time, to defend such a lazy person like Middleton.

      • perplexed says:

        Kate Middleton is technically more educated than Diana was, but Diana was definitely more sophisticated by the time she hit her mid-20s and she got even more sophisticated as time went on. So, yeah, it’s something some people just exude regardless of level of education.

        Michelle Obama is definitely a commanding presence, and, so yes, I’d say she exudes sophistication.

      • Magnoliarose says:

        Other people pretty much explained the point. I didn’t mention educated because intelligence doesn’t necessarily mean a person is educated.

      • Tina says:

        @nota, it is astonishing to me, the lengths that people will go to defend Kate. They insist that she is intelligent, despite all evidence to the contrary. They defend her basic choices in clothing and decor. And now they’re tearing down an intelligent, accomplished person like Michelle Obama because they can’t bear for the obvious comparisons to be made. My mind is boggled.

    • Dena says:

      Yeah. Perhaps one day Kate will be comfortable in her own skin too. Maybe. Hopefully.

    • spidey says:

      Or perhaps MO is being very boring and Kate is trying to maintain a look of interest!

      • Dena says:

        That’s no real litmus test. Kate seems to struggle staying interested and focused on other people and conversation, in general.

      • Natalie says:

        Harry doesn’t seem to have a problem finding Michelle interesting.

      • bluhare says:

        I would think they could have quite a few things in common. Mother of two children. Into fitness. Into healthy eating. Committed to mental health in children. But maybe you’re right. Maybe Michelle is dull, although from everything I’ve seen I’d vote the other way.

      • Starkiller says:

        She can’t possibly be more boring than Kate.

    • What was that says:

      Talking of First Ladies..how do you think Melania Trump will fit in????
      ..or with IVAANA turn up out of the Blue????!!!!!

  5. Jay says:

    Negro is Latin for black, hence its modern usage. The n word is a bastardization of it, slang essentially. So I understand why it offends some people and not others.

    • Kaye says:

      I am an older white Southern woman, and I grew up hearing the word “negro” with no implied racism; it was a descriptive word like “blond” or “tall.” My family would have died rather than use the other “n” word.

      • Breakfast Margaritas says:

        Black people in the American South don’t appreciate the word Negro either. It’s not polite language. Black person or African-American are pretty much the only acceptable terms.

    • HollyG says:

      The Latin word for black is niger, nigra, or nigrum depending on the gender of the noun it modifies. Portuguese and Spanish traders used “negro” to describe black Africans.

      Respected American institutions such as the United Negro College Fund and National Associaton for the Advancement of Colored People continue to use their original names, so I would say that Negro, in this particular historical context, isn’t exactly on par with replacing the lamps with a burning cross. However I’m not a POC so I defer to others on it.

      What IS offensive, however, is only hiding the word when the black folks come to visit.

      • Who ARE these people? says:

        Did they stick their copies of Huckleberry Finn under the sofa cushions, too?

      • MC2 says:

        I totally agree. This is the part that is upsetting, if true at all. Being totally fine with the name out during your life but suddenly hiding it around black people…..uh….not okay

      • Amy Tennant says:

        My thoughts exactly.

      • CynicalCeleste says:

        Making it clear this is the first time they have invited any black folks in for a visit.

      • Petrichor says:

        Yeah, in the pic of George looking all suspicious of Pres. Obama, I assumed it was because it was George’s first close-up encounter with a black person.

    • FishOutOfWater says:

      If someone uses the word negro, I just shake my head. Like this is the 21st century, expand your vernacular.

  6. Div says:

    I went to art school and have taught art and worked in galleries. Even as a WOC, I can understand the value of such a painting…in a museum setting or as a valued piece that has been passed down through generations. The word “negro” is fine in historical context.

    However, the subject matter is more ugh to me than the title. I find it completely and utterly bizarre that they decided to have this piece with a small black child page serving the older white men in their house—it’s not like they don’t have their pick from tons of different pieces. There were artists, even during the Baroque period, who depicted POC who were not “pages or maids” too, so that’s not an excuse. It’s odd, borderline racist imo, and smacks of elitism and colonialism.

    • lala says:

      well, you do know that Kate studied Arts? speaks volumes about her degree I think

    • Hudson Girl says:

      Thank you. I too studied Art for my undergraduate, and Interior Design for my MFA.
      WHY the Cambridges chose this artwork out of all the options available to them is what’s offensive to me, not the title.
      This certainly belongs in a museum but, a slave painting in a Living room… What?!

      • Div says:

        @Hudson
        I am surprised they are not receiving more flack over the subject matter, but then again everyone is focused on the title. The setting is completely inappropriate….it’s more or less like a white American having a picture of slaves working in a cotton field in their dining room. What gets me is you know they have a wide choice of works, and this is what they decided on? It speaks volumes about both of their characters and education, considering they are supposedly art history graduates. Off the top of my head I can think of the Romantic Girodet-Trioson who painted a black Haitian, who was a former slave, that became a French legislator and the piece was done in the late 1700s. I know there are far more non-offensive, or at the very least less offensive, depictions of POC.

        By the way, if you are interested Medieval POC is an interesting blog full of POC in Medieval art.

      • Cookiejar says:

        Oh come on, Kate went to the uni for her Mrs, not her BSc.

        She changed her degree the second Will did (iirc) no doubt to keep the interaction going. I don’t see any motivation behind her educational choices.

      • k says:

        @Cookiejar: “went to uni for her Mrs.”

        LMAO. Very true. Her inane comments about Mumtaz Mahal “deserving this kind of building” at the Taj Mahal really said it all. Four years (I presume) of Art History undergrad and “romance” and “architecture” is all you can come up with? Your parents didn’t need to pay tuition for you to learn that much.

        Correct me if I’m wrong about St. Andrews and Art History majors (Canadian and recently finished my History and English double major), but wouldn’t the courses delve into the topic of colonialism in art? I mean they were smart enough to cover up/remove the name of the painting but dense enough to think that it was still the right painting to have in the room when hosting an African American First Couple? The symbolism is rather hard to miss in this painting. It also makes me wonder if that is the only painting of a black person they possess (which isn’t their fault, really, but that’s another story), and they thought “that’ll do.” If the only art you have of non-white subjects depicts them as subservient, and you know enough to not want to be called out for being racist (removing the title of the piece), then you might be better off playing it safe with landscapes or objects.

        Density level: The Women’s Institute cake HM couldn’t cut.

    • perplexed says:

      Yeah, I thought the subject matter was what could be considered odd. And most likely they saw the portrait when they turned around.

    • Dena says:

      Perhaps they thought they were being inclusive and multicultural or that they needed to add a little dash of color to the room. Both the painting and color: not overpowering but sublime.

      I’m partly joking and partly being serious. I’m not excusing it but am merely suggesting their thought pattern. I don’t think they thought about it beyond color and wall size.

      The real deal is if they felt so moved to conceal the name of the painting will they remove the painting in total, from the common areas, at least, or allow it to remain hanging.

    • Olenna says:

      Div, ITA and am SMH at their poor judgement and lack of sensitivity. If they had anyone of color on their staff, I wonder if they would have given a second thought to placing that picture in their “home”.

    • Nic919 says:

      There is no excuse for these two to not see the colonialist aspect of this painting. They were kids in the 80s and teens in the 90s and so they can’t pretend that they weren’t aware of racism and colonialism as they would certainly be issues raised in the media or at the very least discussed in university. And for Kate to supposedly have studied Art History and not see what this painting represents is beyond ridiculous.

      • msthang says:

        The only reason she went for a degree in art history, was that was Chopper’s choice, so she would be in the same vicinity as him, 10 to 1 odds she had little or no interest in the subject therefore dim as a bulb on the subject. The funny part about that was he decided to go with geography instead, one wonders why she didn’t follow him into that subject, although it would have been a little obvious !!!!

    • SilkyMalice says:

      That is what struck me as well. And the fact that the name of the work was displayed on a plaque beneath it? I can understand it in a historical context, but it offends me nonetheless and I would never want something like that displayed proudly in my home. Ugh.

    • Wren says:

      Maybe they just liked it? Sometimes art speaks to you in a way that is hard to ignore, no matter what your logical mind might say. I’m not saying WK long for the “good ol days” of colonialism or anything like that. Sometimes a piece is fascinating to you for reasons you can’t explain. You can acknowledge the historical context of the subject matter while also recognizing how wrong it is.

      • ArtHistorian says:

        Maybe she chose it because it has horses in it. There are a lot of paintings of horses in old aristocratic homes since many had their favorite race and/or breeding horses recorded in paint. I am not kidding but horse portraiture was an entire subgenre in the 18th century.

    • teacakes says:

      yeah, I was astonished that they’d choose to have a picture of an enslaved black child in that room at all – like you said, it has its place but this was not it.

    • Izzy says:

      To be honest, the first thing I thought was, they picked it for the horses. Like, “Oh, look at the cute little horsies…” I doubt the notion of a black man with the horses even crossed their small, addled minds.

    • KiddVicious says:

      I’m sure Kate chose it because it fit the wall.

  7. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    Embarrassing. If you find the word offensive enough to hide it when the Obamas are in town, why hang it in your living room?

    • Goats on the Roof says:

      Exactly this.

      • Rachel says:

        Exactly – if this was in a private living room that they never used to entertain guests, or in their bedroom, then I wouldn’t have so much of a problem with it. Putting it in your front room and then entertaining POTUS there with a pot plant to cover the plaque is just nonsensical.

        Could they not have put a slightly less divisive painting there a) for this event or b) in general if this space is used for entertaining official guests?

    • Olenna says:

      Well said. Right now, I am feeling a great measure of disgust towards this pair of over privileged royal nitwits.

    • KB says:

      My question is, did they know that negro is considered offensive? Wasn’t it Benedict Cumberbatch that talked about “colored people” having no idea how offensive it was in the US? Maybe it isn’t considered offensive there like it is here. If that were the case, I wonder if they put it up specifically because of the Obama visit. Like maybe they thought they should have a painting with a person of color, but they are so out of touch that’s the picture they chose and it took some lowly assistant to point out that the name was offensive.

      • perplexed says:

        I don’t get why Kate didn’t understand that the subject matter of the painting might be considered a little odd for a sitting room in modern times if she’s an art history major. Wouldn’t she have taken a course on colonialism’s influence on art or something when she was in university?

    • Who ARE these people? says:

      Yes. And given the many fine works of art to which they likely have access, surely they or their decorator could find something else of the right size and ‘feel’ to place there instead?

      Or how about a row of wall sconces? The room needs more lighting. : )

    • MC2 says:

      + 1000 GNAT.

    • AlmondJoy says:

      GNAT, exaaaactly. Was scrolling down to say the exact same thing, glad I saw your comment first.

      Very embarassing. If you have to hide it then you shouldn’t have it at all. I’m guessing they’ve never really given it a thought because they don’t have black people over often. They’re just really out of touch.

      • aurelia says:

        I thought the same thing. They took the time to remove the title plate at the bottom but thought it was ok to leave it up. WTF, take it down, go into another room and grab another non negro enslavement painting and replace it. Agreed, shows how far gone these 2 are.

      • aurelia says:

        And they should have gotten Nicky Haslam to do their interior design. Or Miles Redd.

    • Esmom says:

      Bingo, GoodNames. It really is an embarrassment.

    • notasugarhere says:

      +1 GNAT

    • Harry Lime says:

      +1000

  8. Miss Jupitero says:

    When you think about the money they put into decorating, this is an astonishingly ugly apartment. The lamps! The scented candles! That horrifying coffee table!

    • COSquared says:

      One does not care about money when one is spending other people’s money, of course.

    • Miss Jupitero says:

      But what did they spend it on? That weird ceramic end table? Where did they get that, Pierre Deux?

  9. CidySmiley says:

    How many lamps do they need!? Did this renovation not include maybe a chandelier instead of a thousand dull lamps? I think I counted six in one picture!

  10. LAK says:

    I genuinely feel that the name of the painting is the least of their problems with hanging this painting in a public place of their home.

    The era during which this painting happened was the height of the dutch slave trade ( people like to pretend other nations weren’t involved), and although slavery itself was banned in Amsterdam, it was the vogue to show off your black servant who was a slave in reality dressed up as an ornamental staffer.

    The two gentlemen to the side are literally showing off their black ornamental slave child as a marker for their wealth and standing.

    It’s the reason blackmoor lamps are quietly disappearing from drawing rooms.

    As a student of art history, Kate would or should have known the societal markers in the paintings OR should have found out before agreeing to this painting in a prominent place in her drawing room.

    I have a feeling for William, the draw is probably the horses, but the royal collection has plenty of horse pictures.

    And it says how disconnected WK are from their own lives that it took an assistant to spot the problematic name tag rather than them and or shows how little thought went into the choice of decorative items.

    Not to mention the thought lack of forethought about art in public spaces, since this drawing room was allegedly destined to be used as a reception room for the public.

    If they picked this painting themselves, they should have owned it, plaque and all.

    • COSquared says:

      I don’t think she remembers much academically; even then, wasn’t renovation and decoration the (PR-supplied) reason why she wasn’t working betw. 2012-2014? If she was really busy doing this then she would have known about this. No excuses.

      • LAK says:

        Yes. She was allegedly very involved in the decorating, even papped picking up what looked like swatches/ catalogues from the chelsea design centre.

    • Megan says:

      This work belongs in a museum where the quality can be appreciate and the subject matter explained.

      It’s not an obscure paining. The Obama’s may well have know the title. Regardless, it quite clearly depicts slavery. That should make them feel uncomfortable around any guest, not just those who are African American.

      • Div says:

        @Megan
        Exactly. It has its place in a museum or perhaps even as a heirloom in a carefully chosen place.

        However, the Cambridges have access to tons of art and the fact that they decided on two pieces, one which depicts slavery, for the drawing room is beyond inappropriate and bizarre.

      • LAK says:

        Exactly @ Megan and @ Div.

      • AJ says:

        The presence of this painting in their drawing room is representative of the Cambridges’ general lack of investment in their royal roles. Other examples of their detachment, carelessness and unwillingness to do a minimum of due diligence abound, including wearing a loud pink outfit to the Sept. 11th Memorial Site, not taking the time to view a Bollywood film before their India tour (which they well knew included a Bollywood reception), not showing up for important events like BAFTA and the Irish Guards, etc., etc.. Unless they become as willing to embrace royal demands as they have royal privileges, we will continue to see them embarrass themselves and, by proxy, their country.
        An interesting question that does not seem to have been raised yet is: who leaked the information about the painting debacle?!!

    • vauvert says:

      Absolutely, LAK. In fact everything about the decor is telling, from the boring old fashioned fringe-y sofa to the outdated pleated shades on the too numerous table lamps to the utterly boring skimpy table serving as a bar to the rug placed on the carpet, not to mention the dreary curtains. Sad, really.

      I read a lot of decor mags and prefer British ones to everything else because of the charm, loads of colour, easy mix of new and antique pieces, great use of pattern…. They didn’t get a single thing right in this interior, ending with the choice of art. For someone with an art degree, and access to fabulous art, this is what you choose to display! And then you lack the awareness and chutzpah to either leave the plaque alone if you consider it ok in the context of its history, or to have the forethought to address it, rather than leaving it to your “aide”.

      I have known doorknobs with more brains, style and presence than these two.

      • MinnFinn says:

        It is sort of a pared down English country style to my eye. But I don’t think the room is awful. In addition to the painting problem, there are imo a lot of other mistakes that make me think there was no professional involved in decorating that room. It looks pretty amateur to me and I bet Kate and Carole chose everything.

      • Megan says:

        I think this decor would be fine at Anmer Hall. But this is Kensington Palace.

      • LAK says:

        You are so right @ Vauvert.

        To think this is what £4.5M looks like?!?!

        Ps: do you remember that 4umour of Charles being horrified by the blandness of their decor? To extent that he recommended they use Ben Penreath, one of his pet decorators?

        This is definitely not a Kelly Hoppen room, as she was also once rumoured to be helping them with the decor.

        I wonder if this is Emilia D’langer(sp?)’s work because she was also rumoured to be involved, and her decorating website is as bland as this room.

      • vauvert says:

        I only wish it were English country style… The floor would be hardwood, the curtains would be a lovely pattern, the walls would be painted something soft and dreamy like F&B Borrowed Light, there would be more plants around, and a touch of rustic. That skimpy liquor table would be a gorgeous old mahogany or walnut cupboard and the silver would be splendid.

        I would not be at all surprised if Charles hated the plain vanilla they went with. It is exactly what a person with no confidence in their taste would pick – stuff that would be selected so it doesn’t offend. And if I had a tenth of their cash my walls would certainly feature more art – I am certain they have access to anything from Gainsborough to Turner. Oh well. Of all the things they do to offend, boring and uninspired decor is, I guess, the least of their faults.

      • mary s says:

        I’m with on this, Vauvert. I noticed that bar table– it’s amazingly awkward, it looks like it’s going to topple over. Poor Kate, she always gets it wrong. She doesn’t even look comfortable in her own sitting room.

    • Magnoliarose says:

      Yep so much of what you wrote. Slave boys as pages stayed fashionable for a very long time and in the context of history, the subject has its place, but in a contemporary drawing room, it is a sign of ignorance and insensitivity.
      It shows yet another area where Dolittle shows her questionable judgment and Workshy shows his lack of sophistication.
      No one with common good sense would hang that. If you have to be told it is problematic then you need to spend less time behaving like it is 1850 and more time in the real world.

    • Miss Jupitero says:

      Oh God, Blackamoor lamps! My grandmother had a few of those in her overdone, over-decorated, over-stuffed house.

      • Feeshalori says:

        I remember the black jockey statues used as front lawn ornaments years ago. Understandably they’ve been disappearing as well.

    • Cee says:

      I honestly can’t understand why anyone would feel comfortable hanging such a painting in their own home. Yes, the boy isn’t being whipped or hurt, but he is a slave, a thing to buy and sell, tending to the white man who thought himself his better and superior. One might wonder what these two’s stance on white supremacy is.

      They really don’t seem to understand how their every move, image and even house communicates who they are. This isn’t only about PR.

    • The Original Mia says:

      All of this. I don’t care about the name. I care about the fact that they felt this painting was something they should place in their living room to receive the first black US president and his wife. WTF?! How dumb are these two? How little connection to reality do they have? How could anyone look at that painting and approve its inclusion in their living room?!

    • teacakes says:

      yeah, I can’t imagine the royal collection would be short of horse pictures if that’s what William wanted. I bet they have some nice Stubbs too, no one did better horses than him.

      I can’t believe someone hung that painting in that room in all seriousness and then it took some last-minute assistant doing the sweeps, to catch that glaring faux pas. (though I would argue, like you, that the real problem is that the painting was there at all)

      • ArtHistorian says:

        Otto Bache is, IMO, a close second to Stubbs when it comes to horses.

      • Draken says:

        I would think it was the US Secret service that mentioned something to a royal aide. The UK staffers would be oblivious to this issue on their own

      • Magnoliarose says:

        So much art to choose from depicting 17th century to 19th century aristocratic country life and this is their choice. Smh

    • CynicalCeleste says:

      LAK, right as usual

  11. Zapp Brannigan says:

    I have seen better decorated rooms in the Ikea catalog.

    • Who ARE these people? says:

      This is below the standards of most high-end traditionally decorated hotels.

  12. MinnFinn says:

    Thanks for the painting info Kaiser. It accounts for the oddities I noticed when those photos came out last week. The fern in the modern chrome planter plus the lampshades on either side of the painting that are askew seemed so out-of-place especially given the reports on Camp Cambridge being very hyper-managed.

  13. Shambles says:

    “Mail on Sunday art critic Philip Hensher says the work, from the Golden Age of Dutch painting, would particularly appeal to a History of Art graduate, such as Kate.”

    ‘Such as Kate.’ I feel like that might have been some very, very, very subtle and well placed shade.

    • Feeshalori says:

      Shambles, that remark immediately struck me as shade too. Subtle but cutting.

      And what a gaffe about the painting, historical as it is. If the Obamas weren’t aware of its presence before, the cat is certainly out of the bag now with this revelation.

    • Susan says:

      I’m not at 100 percent today, forgive me, but could you explain how that is shade? Not being sassy, I just genuinely didn’t catch the subtlety and I love a good subtle shade! Lol.

      • Feeshalori says:

        Hi, Susan – I perceived it as subtle shade since Kate has made a number of glaring blunders in the past despite her art history background, especially regarding the Faberge eggs. And since the DM so often delivers a tongue in cheek barb, complimenting while actually being sarcastic, I felt this was yet another example. It did give me a good chuckle and I wondered why the golden age of Dutch art would “particularly appeal” to Kate. Maybe because it doesn’t, and that could be the shade.

  14. lower-case deb says:

    i think that all of the pictures have been taken with a camera whose ISOs and exposures have been jacked up high.

    all of the lamps in the world and still a dark place to sit in.
    even with all the extra daylight.

    imagine in the middle of winter?

    no wonder Kate and William seems to be arsedly dressed half the time, they couldn’t see themselves properly.

  15. MissBB says:

    Those white couches are a sensible choice when you have toddlers around.

  16. TeamAwesome says:

    Is this perhaps THE most “first world problem” to ever exist?

    • Jade says:

      Nah, that would be the problem of having to take pictures in front of a scaffolded Taj Mahal. Oh the woe.

      I agree that this painting title is historical and it can be admired. But to choose it as one of your living room’s focal point, I’d certainly side eye the message the owner sent. It’s a tad elitist, to me, especially from their privileged position. But it’s really funny that these two did not realise the painting could be an issue, until their staff pointed it out! Oh yes, I forgot they’re still ‘learning on the job’.

  17. Dena says:

    Kate looks like a servant and/or nanny hovering in the background in the picture where Pres. Obama, William & Michelle are crouched down around George. If you don’t look carefully at the picture, you can almost miss her presence. I did the first time.

  18. mytake says:

    I bet that they switch the paintings up in that room often (hence the “hanging train” at the top of the ceiling) and picked this one for the Obama’s arrival because it had a black person in it — and they didn’t notice the plaque till the last minute…

    Now, if I am right, W&K are worse than I thought on this front. They are SO out-of-touch with anyone who isn’t white, that their train of thought is…..”Oh! This one has a black person; this should work” without any further thought.

    • Megan says:

      Interesting theory. It would explain the last minute scramble over the title plaque.

    • SilkyMalice says:

      But a black person in a clearly servant role? I don’t think it was intentional, it was just thoughtless.

      • mytake says:

        That’s my point. W&K didn’t even think “hey, we’re hanging a picture of a slave” — they just saw “black person” and thought, “This works.” Which is indicative of a much larger mentality — and it’s not an admirable one.

  19. Megan says:

    #PoorJason is truly crap at his job. If this story is fake, it should have been shut down instantly. If it is real, how did such an embarrassing leak happen on his watch?

    Is there no one in their lives who will speak truth to them? Their staff sucks. They need to bring in heavy hitters to mange their PR, fashion, work schedule, and make up.

  20. Betti says:

    That’s one busy room – for someone who is an art graduate and supposedly creative, the decor is well all over the place. Her perchance for themeing isn’t on display here – it looks like cast offs by friends and family. Shame considering all the paintings and furniture they have access to from the Royal Collection.

  21. Lainey says:

    I don’t understand why the plaque wasn’t removed long before this. They obviously understood the name can cause offense but only removed it when the Obamas came to visit. Why not when they put it up?

  22. Starkiller says:

    Wow-70 comments and not a single one yet complaining about Americans imposing their race issues on other countries. I’m actually shocked.

    • KB says:

      They were hosting the American President. The comments are specific to the context of the situation.

      • LOLADOESTHEHULA says:

        @starkiller, as an African, born and currently living in a former British (and Dutch) colony, there’s nothing I find more infuriating than comments like those. Europeans love acting like slavery and racism were/are uniquely American atrocities. My country will never receive reparations, the very least they can do is honour the victims of their savage ancestors by owning up to their crimes.

      • Who ARE these people? says:

        Lola love your name…do you really do the hula?

        Anyway see below, I was thinking along the same lines. Racism allowed the European colonialist era of slavery, racism and slavery were imported mostly by the English to the Americas and took root there.

        The more I study this, the more I think about England’s talent for public relations and whitewashing its past crimes.

        (It’s not like France, Spain, Belgium etc were any better but the English mostly settled the American South in the plantation system emulating British aristocracy.)

      • Tina says:

        Please explain to me how “England” (I assume you mean the UK) has whitewashed its past crimes.

    • perplexed says:

      It’s the British Daily Mail that noted that the Cambridges stuck a potted plant in front of the title to hide it from the Obamas.

      .

      • Tough Cookie says:

        I read “A pot plant was also put in place to cover where the plaque would have been” and thought SURELY NOT!!
        Then I realized they meant “potted plant.” LOL

    • Who ARE these people? says:

      Given that England was a major developer of the African slave trade, which required racism to even be considered a justifiable practice, it’s hard to see how this is about Americans imposing their race issues on another country.

      The racism of the USA comes directly from the English (and French) aristocrats who replicated their Caribbean plantation system in the Southern part of the new country. It didn’t develop in a vacuum.

      • Tina says:

        No one has claimed that this is about Americans imposing their race issues on another country. This whole thread is expressing outrage about something that no one (not even the Daily Mail) has said.

    • Cee says:

      Try calling someone “a negro” (spanish pronunciation) in my country. And no, I’m not American.

      • LOLADOESTHEHULA says:

        @WhoAreThesePeople, lol thanks…+1000 to everything you said about Britain whitewashing its ugly history. @Tina, the British government destroyed documents detailing their savagery, for starters. They’ve also apparently invented an alternate history where colonialism benefited the natives. There was actually a recent survey that found that most Brits were proud of the British Empire. To me, the words ‘British Empire’ incite the same revulsion as the words ‘Adolf Hitler’ so you can imagine my anger about that.

        Till pretty recently, Belgium’s recollection of it’s colonial history coincidentally didn’t include the 10 million dead and dismembered Congolese.

      • Tina says:

        Well, I’m British, so I’m pedantic and like to know details. Do you have sources for these claims? Links? When did the British government supposedly destroy these documents? Which documents were destroyed? Who has invented this alternate history where colonialism benefitted the “natives”? It’s certainly not being taught in UK schools.

        As for the survey, I assume you’re referring to this one: https://yougov.co.uk/news/2014/07/26/britain-proud-its-empire/ It’s not a great result, but it’s not “whitewashing.” Older people are more conservative and more likely to think that a time when Britain had more power was a good thing (not unlike Trump supporters in the US). It may be a misguided view of history. But it’s not whitewashing. (And Belgium and Britain are not the same thing, btw).

      • LOLADOESTHEHULA says:

        @Tina, where did I say that the poll results were an example of whitewashing? I presented it as evidence of the general attitude Brits seem to have about their colonial past.

        I’m perfectly aware that Britain and Belgium aren’t the same, thanks for the condescension. I mentioned Belgium because our discussion (which you inserted yourself into) was about European colonialism as a whole, not just Britain. As for the destroyed documents, the fact that you don’t know about them sorta proves my point.

        I don’t know how to post links so I don’t know if this will work: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2012/apr/18/britain-destroyed-records-colonial-crimes

        If it doesn’t, you’re a big girl, I’m sure you can figure out how google works.

      • Tina says:

        To recap, since it’s apparently needed, Whoarethesepeople said that “England” had “whitewashed its past crimes.” I asked for details on that, and you took it upon yourself to reply. Your reply discussed aspects beyond whitewashing, so was beyond the scope of the question which you were purporting to answer. This is a public forum, so if you want to have a private conversation, I suggest you do it in a private venue.

        Not to minimise the impact of the destruction of the documents, which is of course terrible, but it took place between 1946 and 1967. It is not going on at present, so “England” is not presently “whitewashing” its past crimes, and in fact, as the article shows, the government is going to great efforts to preserve the remaining documents in the National Archives.

        On a serious note, treating present-day Brits as though we are all longing for the days of Empire and kicking people in the face does a significant disservice to those who work hard to change the curriculum to teach our children about our past, and to give them a clear-eyed view of what went on. Treating us as though we have learned nothing and continue to be reactionary and evil is very short-sighted and a bad idea, if you want attitudes to change.

      • LOLADOESTHEHULA says:

        My reply discussed aspects beyond whitewashing because I was replying to whoarethesepeople, I just addressed your question in my comment to her. It’s not that hard to figure out.

        It wasn’t a private discussion, but if you want to insert yourself into an ongoing discussion, it’s always wise to familiarise yourself with the context of what’s being discussed. If you had, you would’ve understood that I wasn’t saying Belgium and Britain were “the same thing” and saved us a lot of trouble.

        The poll in your own link actually proves that present day Brits ARE longing for the days of the empire. Maybe not all, but an alarming number. Even 48 % of the youth, if that’s not an indictment of British colonial nostalgia, I don’t know what is. Those attitudes did not happen in a vacuum. Clearly there’s been a whitewashing.

      • Tina says:

        There’s a difference between being “proud” of something and “longing” for it. If you’re given a poll and asked to choose between two choices, proud or ashamed, most people are going to default to “proud.” If you asked Americans whether they were “proud” or “ashamed” of their history, a significant majority of them would say that they were proud, despite the awful things that the US has done in its history. The British Empire helped to win WWII (and stood alone for 2 years). It wasn’t all bad. That doesn’t mean that they are longing for its days or want to go back there in any way, or that they’re not aware of it.

        And you @ me just as you @ whoarethesepeople in your reply. It was not unreasonable for me to think that everything that followed “@Tina” was addressed to me. I read and was perfectly aware of the context, and considered that an aside about Belgium at the end of a comment about Britain was out of place.

      • LOLADOESTHEHULA says:

        Now you’re just splitting hairs. The word “History” is too ambiguous, they were asked about a very specific period in British history. The equivalent would be Germans being asked if they were proud of the Third Reich. It was also a period of great innovation in Germany, does that mean it would be understandable for Germans to feel proud of that part of their history?

        The comment I was replying to mentioned Belgium, why would my mentioning it be out of place? Again, it wasn’t a “comment about Britain”, it was a comment about European colonialism and Britain was included in the discussion. You obviously aren’t as aware of the context as you think you are.

        Your comment about “changing the curriculum”, practically alluded to whitewashing in the way that that part of your history is taught. I’m confused about why you’ve been wasting both our time asking a question you clearly knew the answer to.

        Your attempts to downplay and whitesplain your nation’s pride in a period that resulted in the deaths of tens of millions (among other evils) is bordering on offensive. I mean, I get the compulsion to defend your country’s honour, but your defensiveness on this particular subject is disgusting and in poor taste. It’s also a perfect illustration of what whoarethesepeople and I were talking about, so thanks, I guess.

      • Tina says:

        Oh, for heaven’s sake. The comment said that “England” was “whitewashing” its colonial past. That may have been done in the past, but it isn’t anymore. If you’re going to Godwin, let’s Godwin. The British Empire lasted for hundreds of years and is not like the Third Reich, which lasted for a very short period of time and accomplished no good things whatsoever. The British Empire stood alone against Hitler for two years until the Americans turned up. I’d say that’s a good thing. Was the British Empire good overall? No, it wasn’t, and it’s not taught that way in UK schools.

        But you clearly don’t know anything about UK schools or what is taught in them. You say that I’m “whitesplaining,” which means that a white person is explaining something to a PoC that they know more about. You may know lots about colonialism, but I know more about my country and whether it whitewashes its own past. Which brings us back to the beginning of the discussion.

      • LOLADOESTHEHULA says:

        Mods why do you keep deleting my comment? It’s the last one, I promise :-(

        Tina, I see no Godwin[ing] on my part, the comparison is more than fair. I don’t see the relevance of the length of both eras? That the Third Reich accomplished no good things is your opinion (and mine, actually), there are many that would beg to differ. Just as there are many that would argue that the Empire accomplished no good things.

        Yes, the Empire stood against Hitler…then, not long after, established concentration camps in Kenya and commited some of the most barbaric acts in colonial history. So that’s a moot point to me.

        I don’t claim to know anything about UK schools, just taking my cues from you. If it’s not being taught that way, why would there be a need “to change the curriculum to teach our children about our past, and to give them a clear-eyed view of what went on” ?

      • Tina says:

        No credible historian claims that there were benefits to the Third Reich, apart from jokey references to the trains running on time. Credible historians have argued that there were some benefits to the British Empire, such as the introduction of infrastructure and, in some places, democracy (compare the governance of Hong Kong to that of mainland China). Now I’m not saying it was an overall force for good, and a lot of appalling things were done in the name of Empire. But there are arguments on both sides.

        If Hitler had conquered Europe, the entire history of the 20th century would have been different everywhere. Nazi Germany would certainly not have treated Africa any more kindly than the other colonial powers. Whatever else was done, holding out against Nazi Germany was a singular act of good.

        We can go on like this for ever, but my only point in this whole discussion is that, whatever may have been done in the past, the government of the UK is not whitewashing the British Empire now. We have changed the curriculum, it has happened. The atrocities of the past are being acknowledged and taught. Insisting otherwise is factually incorrect and does not help anyone.

      • LOLADOESTHEHULA says:

        I’d love some sources on the credible historians arguing the benefits of British colonialism. I’ve only ever heard those arguments from white supremacists in my country.

        As for your last paragraph, pardon me for not taking your word for it. I’m just about done with this discussion, so I’ll just leave this here: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/so-brits-are-proud-of-colonialism-clearly-they-need-some-lessons-about-the-reality-of-the-british-a6825666.html

      • Tina says:

        You probably don’t like him (he’s not one of my favourites either) but Niall Ferguson is a reputable historian (Professor of History at Harvard University and Senior Research Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford) who has repeatedly argued that there were some benefits of Empire (he also talks about the drawbacks, which no one ever acknowledges). Ronald Hyam is another reputable historian (Magdalene College, Cambridge) who is a renowned expert who has argued both sides (although the more prurient aspects of his work tend to grab the bulk of the attention): https://www.timeshighereducation.com/books/book-of-the-week-understanding-the-british-empire/412621.article

        On the national curriculum point, here is an example: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/239075/SECONDARY_national_curriculum_-_History.pdf Students study “Britain’s transatlantic slave trade: its effects and its eventual abolition” and “the development of the British Empire with a depth study (for example, of India).”

        The left thinks that we ought to focus more on the negative effects of Empire, as the article you quoted makes clear. The right attempted to reform the national curriculum in 2013 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-21600298) to support Michael Gove’s ideas. They failed. http://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/jun/21/michael-gove-history-curriculum

        I hardly think a vigorous debate on the subject, as we have been having, amounts to whitewashing.

  23. lower-case deb says:

    okay, so even IF no one has any problem with the title of the painting itself and the N word, a painting that represents colonialism, child exploitation, slavery, racism, classism, and indolent living of the upper classes…

    is it really nothing wrong at all to be put in a formal reception/drawing/sitting room of a person holding a diplomatic/public position where said person will be welcoming and hosting people in, as part of fulfilling said diplomatic/public role?

    especially with Britain’s colonial past and continued colonial-related issues with her former colonies (commonwealth, etc… the number of countries calling Queen Elizabeth Ii their sovereign has dwindled by half since she ascended the throne for instance… but anyway, i digress)

    and what about child exploitation, slavery? it is still an issue even in this modern day and age.

    this picture is also hanging in the house of a person who wanted every single ivory in the royal household destroyed because it’s offensive to him. is slavery not offensive enough to him?

    • The Original Mia says:

      The title is the least problematic thing. The subject matter of the painting should offend everyone. The fact that neither Kate nor William nor anyone in their employ realized how totally inappropriate and offensive that painting was is mind-boggling.

    • snapdragon says:

      Well stated!

  24. TJ says:

    Who cares? This is clearly not a racist use of the word. People get too worked up over everything.

    • perplexed says:

      But they were the ones who stuck the plant in front of the plaque to hide the title (at the last minute, I guess?). That’s what the newspaper has noted. They themselves apparently weren’t comfortable with the title of the plaque. Maybe nobody would be talking about this if they hadn’t stuck the plant there to hide the title.

    • Cee says:

      The painting depicts a young SLAVE tending to his MASTER’S horses. The title is the least problematic aspect of this painting. This is not the painting for their public living room.

    • mary s says:

      TJ– it seems as if the Cambridges cared first, right? Now we care, too. It’s a historical painting displayed in a prominent place in the sitting room of a couple that represents British royalty. The painting represents a lifestyle that is, thankfully, no longer acceptable. It’s an interesting choice to have such a painting so casually displayed in a room that is meant to be welcoming, open, a place for conversation. So, to answer your question, many people feel that is worthy of care and discussion.

  25. OTHER RENEE says:

    There really is no end to Kategate is there?

  26. magnolia says:

    Yes, offensive but it’s nice that they caught it before it was seen by the Obamas. Although they prob would not have been shocked. They get called even worse things by the asshats on talk radio every day….

    • perplexed says:

      I don’t get why the painting was still up there given the subject matter of the portrait. Couldn’t they have found a replacement or is that too hard to do at the last minute?

  27. INeedANap says:

    Looking at those pictures gives me a migraine. It’s at once tacky and bland. Is Kate good at anything?

    • Who ARE these people? says:

      Co-making healthy babies, which was, after all, Job #1. It’s all the other jobs that are the problem.

  28. Bethie says:

    I just think this is really funny. What you said about Obama seeing it and calling Michelle over made me laugh out loud. And picturing the Cambridges and a bunch of assistant running around like chickens with their heads cut off, trying to remove the plaque and cover the space, while Obama makes his way up the walk to the door knocker…it’s killing me.

    • Jade says:

      Yes! It’s playing in my head like a good SNL skit.

      I also think that the realisation of this painting must have been super last minute, else it could have been replaced instead of using a potted plant. It really looked like everyone freaked out and decided to use the plant.

  29. Gg says:

    That bar cart is also a crime!!

    And I was given a tray with a turn of the century map of Africa printed on it and a guest pointed out it said Negro Land on it. Should I throw it out? What do we do with our antiquities if they don’t match our current value system? For example, do we tear down the Coliseum because that’s where audiences watched slaves fight to the death?

    • perplexed says:

      “Should I throw it out?”

      If you’re hosting the Obamas in their roles as President and First Lady for diplomatic purposes, I wouldn’t recommend you have it sitting out on your living room table. Maybe you can hide it in your bedroom when they’re over for tea.

  30. notasugarhere says:

    Kaiser, you win the internet for the thumbnail of Kate Middleton you used for this article. Priceless!

    • ABC says:

      I know! I have to remind myself that’s Kate, she looks like someone who looks vaguely like her but twenty years older. Too much filler, too little photoshop, the reality is shocking! Is it Kate? I’m still not 100% sure!!

  31. Melly says:

    Is anyone going to bring up their absolutely terrible choice in booze? Gordon’s gin and Smirnoff Ice? Seriously???? That’s some of the cheapest stuff you can buy and was barely acceptable in college.

    • Citresse says:

      And it looked strange having them placed on top of a small round table pulled closer to the seating area. You would think they’d have a proper bar cart. I mean, it’s not like they can’t afford one.

      • Melly says:

        For a royal to have Gordon’s Gin (in a plastic bottle) on such a weird, non-bar like table is odd. Maybe if the booze were in decanters it wouldn’t look so bad.

      • carolind says:

        The small round table would be considered classier than a bar cart!

      • Feeshalori says:

        Actually, it irked me that a possible antique tea/gaming table was used to crammed miscellaneous liquor bottles on. I felt that an enclosed drinks cabinet would have been better to dispense drinks from, and would have looked a darn sight better. The table would have been better used for another lamp if they needed more light.

    • LAK says:

      Isn’t Smirnoff ice alcopop? That reminds me of uni days.

    • Tina says:

      It’s not Smirnoff Ice, it’s just a regular bottle of Smirnoff vodka. I do agree that they could have got some Grey Goose and some decent gin in there (Hendrick’s, anyone?)

      • Melly says:

        I’d give a pass for Smirnoff vodka, because that stuff isn’t terrible and I actually like their blueberry vodka. But Gordon’s gin… in a plastic bottle… displayed prominently? Gordon’s gin was barely acceptable in college when we had no money, what the hell is a royal doing with it? You would think that in this room where they are doing some diplomatic hosting they would have splurged on got some decent alcohol. Or maybe decanters to hide their terrible choice in booze.

      • ArtHistorian says:

        I guess that they aren’t used to entertaining in an official capacity. The refreshments that they served at their reception before the India/Bhutan tour were embarrasingly meagre.

    • teacakes says:

      yeah, I’d have expected some whiskey at the very least, I mean come on, they have all those great single malts. Or Stolichnaya, for the vodka (I never thought I could like vodka until I had this, it went down SO easily).

    • Kitten says:

      Hey I drink Smirnoff! The flavored versions are yummy and they get me just as drunk as the high-end sh*t for half the price.

      Man, I’m so tired of the vodka-shaming around here.
      -_-

    • TyrantDestroyed says:

      Well I’m glad at least they didn’t bring a tray with jello shots. The two heads of the Cambridge family seem to be stuck in the college era.

  32. me says:

    So I’m guessing they don’t have anyone that is Black that works for the Royal Family and might see that painting on a daily basis? They only had to take it down before the Obama’s got there. Ok. If you think it’s that offensive, then why have it up in the first place???

    • Joannie says:

      Because it’s ART!! It’s not offensive to anyone unless you make it so. Blacks weren’t the only ones to be enslaved. On another note I’m really going to miss Obama as president. He’s one classy guy. I watched an interview where Michelle said he is a good man. I agree he is a good man.

      • me says:

        If it’s just “ART” then why hide it? Why not let it be seen by the Obama’s??? Yeah I know Black people weren’t the only ones enslaved but the Artwork in question was about Black slavery in particular.

      • Joannie says:

        They didn’t hide it. If they were worried it would be offensive they would have removed the painting from the room. The Daily Mail said they put the plant there on purpose. Lol! Do you honestly think the Obamas are so daft they don’t know what that painting is? The only people who are offended are those looking for a reason to rag on W&K. This is silly!

      • perplexed says:

        “Do you honestly think the Obamas are so daft they don’t know what that painting is?”

        We don’t think the Obamas are daft but it seems like Kate and Wills do if it is true that they wanted to hide the title.

      • nic919 says:

        Of all the choices they have from the massive art collections owned by the Royal Family, they go and pick the one with a slave boy and horses? That is pretty disturbing if so.

      • Emily C. says:

        Black people were not and are not the only people to be enslaved, this is true. But this is a painting pretty clearly glorifying slavery. And slavery is a crime against all humanity, so why have a painting like this in your drawing room? It should absolutely not be destroyed — but it belongs in a museum. Looking at a painting like that every day in my own home would make me sick, personally.

    • LAK says:

      WK have a Fijian valet. I doubt he goes into the Drawing room since his job wouldn’t require him to do so.

      • me says:

        No Black friends either huh lol? Like if they thought the Obama’s would be offended, don’t they think others would be too, regardless of what color a person’s skin is, they can be offended by that “artwork”. I don’t know it’s just an odd choice.

  33. Cynd8013 says:

    Why didn’t W/K just take the painting down and replace it with something else?

  34. Starlight says:

    I think they are trying to lighten the atmosphere in that apartment KP always has a stifling atmosphere (well it felt that way the last time I attended an exhibition there. As for Kate why does she like wearing these floaty little miss prim dresses which make her look like the head of below stairs kitchen taking the dinner menu order for the Obama banquet.

  35. Minxx says:

    Why am I not surprised at this bland decor? Look at the way Kate dresses! Why would anyone expect her to grow a personality and style when it comes to decorating? Money and titles cannot buy taste. She’s so insecure, it shows in virtually everything, starting with her hair and outdated makeup, ending with her living room. She could have the best decorators, access to the best antiques, art and resources and would still come up with this. Their curtains and those random sofa pillows in drab colours.. ugh! The lamps with the same shades… It’s all so uninspired, it’s almost offensive. And the blue and white china.. I’m sure it’s expensive but it looks cheap, like she bought it all from one catalogue.

  36. Minxx says:

    Well, looks like it could have been decorated by thier friend, Emilia d’Erlangler..

    http://derlangerandsloan.co.uk/index/#/kings-road-house/
    http://derlangerandsloan.co.uk/index/#/town-house-in-pimlico/

  37. Reece says:

    I’m far more offended by the yellow lighting. That is an assault on eyes and skin color.

    Who ARE the people working there?!? The act of hiding the name of the painting is more offensive than the painting itself. The thing about it is, it’s not offensive on a race level it’s offensive on an intelligence level. As if The Obamas would not be able to grasp the concept that it is a 400 yr old painting and the word negro, although we do not use it now, was not the offensive word used to describe POC. Sheeesh…
    And why is that painting in the sitting room is a whole other discussion that needs to be had between some people there.

  38. TessD says:

    I want to know where that big scented candle is from – any guesses? I love scented candles!

    • me says:

      Do your research on scented candles, not the best for your health.

    • LAK says:

      DM says it’s Jo Malone.

      I love the packaging of Jo Malone goods. Sadly, i find their scents, in whatever platform, be it soap, candles, sprays etc overly scented. It gives me a headache.

  39. Patty says:

    The one thing that stands out for me when looking these pictures is that Michelle Obama who is in her 50′s, looks younger, fresher, and more stylish than Kate. Hmm.

  40. Draken says:

    IMO, the art piece was staged, just like the rocking horse and the stuffed version of Bo Obama (the first dog). Unfortunately , they chose the wrong art piece depicting a black person.

  41. Tonka says:

    Count me among the masses who cannot understand how the Cambridges thought that painting was appropriate in any official capacity. They are utterly tone deaf. The Duchess only wishes she had a fraction of the poise, elegance, charisma and intelligence of the FLOTUS. She’s a woman in her 30s but presents like an awkward teenager. It’s so strange how ill suited she is for the role she so clearly sought.

    And the tacky alcohol table?! So strange.

    • aurelia says:

      Even Melania and Ivanka trump have more sophistication and poise than waity.

      Anybody here voting for Trump? LOLZ. I am in new zealand. I just thought I would ask. I can’t believe he’s for realz.

  42. mazzie says:

    Britain still has issues with acknowledging its role in colonialization and slavery. I’ve met older white Brits who fail to realize that Empire isn’t a thing anymore. (Note: I know this is anecdotal so clearly not applied to everyone.)

    Lucy Worsley, the presenter, once said Britain was so properous under the Georges because of trade. Twitter promptly told her one of the Georges got involved in slavery.

    • Tina says:

      If it’s “clearly not applied to everyone,” then maybe don’t make blanket statements like “Britain still has issues with acknowledging its role in colonialization and slavery.”

      • mazzie says:

        Eh, I can make blanket statements if I want to just as you can tell me not to make blanket statements. I suggest you educate yourself a bit.

  43. Magnoliarose says:

    Over and over again I can’t help feeling that Kate’s parents should be ashamed of themselves by setting her after Workshy but not preparing her for her future role. I honestly don’t think he could catch a woman with substance and strength because they wouldn’t put up with his nonsense. Now that she’s there, she is exposed and has no tools to help herself. One day she will wake up and realize it wasn’t worth it.
    He’s cheap so it isn’t like he is lavishing her with beautiful jewels or making grand gestures to demonstrate his love. He offers her no help or guidance. He does not care because his place is always secure as far as money.
    I think he only allows her to spend what he deems necessary only. No matter the outcome.

    • aurelia says:

      True. I would be ashamed if I had bred Waity and her 2 work shy siblings. Clairol aspired to be lady of the manor, just as uncle gaz is quoted as saying. She instilled in her 3 useless kids to lazy and have somebody else pick up the tab for their lifestyles. Something else uncle gaz said, it was along the lines if you have to work too hard for it, it isn’t really as sweet. Something to that effect. I think he was asked why he is so different to claroil and her kids. Carole isn’t a grafter. She sold a few party bags online. The real money came from selling her customer database before it was outlawed around year 2000 in the uK. And of course laundering for her fav bro.

      Where does bloody fun uncle james get his money from? Uncle gaz’s marshmellow loan is all gone. He must still be on an allowance from his parents as he turns 30. I bet as long as he plays hetro he will be on the payroll.

  44. QueenOfNowhere says:

    Hi,

    First time commenting, longtime reader!!

    I’m not a fan of the painting but it’s their choice. What I don’t understand is the painting goes by two names “The Negro Page” and “The Page with Two Horses” and yet they chose to use a plaque with the word negro on it rather than the other less offensive name?? Why didn’t they use “The Page with Two Horses” which would have avoided any embarrassment and not made them look like entitled snobs who only view the use of the word negro as wrong in the presence of black people?

    • LAK says:

      my guess is that their painting, like all paintings in the Royal collection, is the original. Thus it would have the original plaque.

      the alternative name is a recent change, which wouldn’t necessarily affect the Royal collection because the original was sitting in a vault for decades, if not centuries.

      When listed in catalogues, it would fall under alternative name with a blurb giving it’s origins + original name.

  45. NewKay says:

    I think it’s incredibly insulting that a Black dignatary – of any country, has to come and sit in a room (someone’s home, not a museum) with a painting depicting the enslavement of a black child. It’s disgusting. It’s a reminder of their ‘place’ in the context of history. William and Kate should be ashamed. I never held them in high estimation- but I’ve lost what little semblance of respect I had for them. And it’s disturbing that this cycle of ignorance will not change becausd George, Charlotte and any other kids they have will grow up on this environment.

    • meh says:

      It’s very weird (and says a lot about them) that they noticed it was a potentially uncomfortable/offensive thing to have out, and then didn’t just take the whole piece down.

  46. Salanta says:

    The move has backfired anyway, don’t we think that word of this has gotten back to the Obamas by now? Which is even more embarrassing…

  47. Yeathatsright says:

    Tsk tsk. Barely any comments on how adorable george is in his little housecoat!!

    Paintings, wallpaper, decor, lamps, kate, michelle. Blah blah blah

    PRINCE GEORGE IN A HOUSECOAT!!! BEING MORE AWESOME THAT EITHER OF HIS PARENTS COULD EVER DREAM OF BEING

    This kid will rule the world one day

  48. Helena says:

    You know, just a curiosity: in brazilian portuguese the word “negro” is the right, proper way to call someone that is black. To call someone “black” (like the colour) is the word that could (not always, but usually) be called the offensive version – it just goes to show that words have different ideological meanings and sometimes what someone is saying doesn’t really mean what they think it means. It’s quite a diplomatic conundrum.

  49. Lisa says:

    I’m not black but I’m also not sure I would appreciate being called a negro. It just sounds racist! asking for an opinion?

  50. Esmom says:

    I know, I don’t think it’s offensive since the term was commonly used 400 years ago. 400 years ago! It’s not like someone painted that last year. As MC2 said, “context, people!” The Obamas for sure would understand that. In fact it seems weird they would try to cover that up.

  51. Ally8 says:

    I guess, why, of all the paintings they could have chosen from, did they pick one with an African child servant in it? I’m guessing they liked the horses in the picture and the rest didn’t bother them personally.

    The person who noticed it ‘at the last minute’ should put this on their resume. Can you imagine that picture of Michelle Obama with the plaque still there? Awful insular cluelessness.

  52. Breakfast Margaritas says:

    Most American Blacks do find the word distasteful, although some people use it as slang. Negro is what Black people in America were called after slavery up until the end of the 1960s…as a polite way to avoid saying ni&&er. It’s interesting that folks in other countries would prefer Negro instead of Black. After the Black Pride movement in the early 70′s, Americans with Afro roots were encouraged not to feel shame about the color Black so most African-Americans now identify as either Black or African-American.

    Negro is not a polite word in the presence of Black Americans and particularly upper class African-Americans like the Obamas. They may not visibly react but a mental box has been checked when they hear it or see it. I don’t understand why the Cambridges thought this was so great a painting that it needed to be on display in a room where important people might be received? Even if this is from the 1660s, what’s so great about black servitude that it need be on display in the royal apartment?

  53. Betsy says:

    It would be racist to use about someone now, albeit less gross than the n word, but the painting is from 1660.

  54. mllejuliette says:

    I didn’t say that using “negro” was appropriate, just outdated and not as offensive as using the “N” word. Blacks *were* called Negroes for the longest time, not to mention that “negro” is simply the Spanish word for “black”.

  55. Luca76 says:

    Historically speaking it was what we were called so it’s not offensive.

  56. Mimz says:

    Well, in portuguese Negro is what we call ourselves. Direct translation of Black (race, not color). Now if someone calls us the Black (color) name that’s offensive. Different parts of the world have a different history with words, names and connotations.

  57. MC2 says:

    Yeah- I am with Mllejuliette. The 1660 era painting’s name doesn’t seem offensive. Taken in context (context people!) it is the name of the painting and was a common word in 1660- I think it was the more respectful word at that time. The N-er word, I think, was always offensive & used as a put down. When I hear that word in old books I side-eye the hell out of the situation but when an old author describes a character as a negro I think of it (depending on the context!) as a description like a white person would use the term black nowadays.
    Please add input if I am in left field. I actually think this topic is interesting. Should we change all the names of paintings if they are offensive?!

  58. meh says:

    I had the same thought. OK, you removed the word ‘negro.’ You still have a painting of a black child waiting on two wealthy white men hanging in a prominent place in your sitting room. Is it so much better without the plaque?