Hide Your Shame: British Royals Scrambled to Put a Racist Painting Out of Sight Before Obamas' Visit

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 22:  Prince Harry, US President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama,  Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge pose as they attend a dinner at Kensington Palace on April 22, 2016 in London, England.  The President and his wife are currently on a brief visit to the UK where they attended lunch with HM Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle and later will have dinner with Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge at Kensington Palace. Mr Obama visited 10 Downing Street this afternoon and held a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron where he stated his case for the UK to remain inside the European Union. (Photo by Chris Radburn - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Hide Your Shame: British Royals Scrambled to Put a Racist Painting Out of Sight Before Obamas' Visit

They narrowly missed a very awkward situation.

Published April 26, 2016

President Obama and first lady Michelle visited the British royal family last week and nearly had a very, very awkward (to say the least) moment upon their arrival at Kensington Palace. The title plate of a painting called "The Negro Page" that has been hanging on the palace walls was removed just moments before the Obamas arrived for dinner. 

A hurried removal of the title plaque reportedly took place just before — literally, moments before — the presidential couple entered the room, and, like something out of Three's Company, was replaced by a pot plant to cover the area where the plaque would have been.

The Sun spoke to a source that said, "Imagine the horror when someone spotted the n-word." Imagine. The painting by Dutch painter Aelbert Cuyp was chosen by Kate from the Royal collection, it also goes by an alternative, more modern name, "A Page With Two Horses." 

The sourced continued to explain, "Image is very important to the Cambriges' team so they didn't want to get anything wrong." Adding, "No one wanted to cause any offense to the Obamas so a screwdriver was summoned to removed the picture's title."

It was certainly the right move, as the painting's title could have easily made the visiting Obamas feel unwelcome. But that doesn't change the fact that it took a visit from the first Black president to address the issue. Perhaps this near miss will convince the royal family and their staff to make a permanent revision.

Despite the last-minute fracas, the informal dinner went smoothly. Even 2-year-old Prince George joined the adults, shaking hands with President Obama in his bathrobe:

The next day, Obama addressed young people and took questions. He also reflected on the strong friendship between the U.K. and U.S., which he joked has improved substantially since the British "burned down my house," in the War or 1812.

While a spokesman for Kensington Palace declined to comment on the painting mishap, it can be assumed that the painting is being rethought altogether.

Another awkward incident occurred with Mr. Obama last week when Rick Ross visited the White House, only to trip his legally mandated bracelet alarm. Check out how the rapper and the president reacted with BET Breaks:

(Photo: Chris Radburn - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Written by Evelyn Diaz


Latest in news