The new king of the United Kingdom, who has been dodging issues of institutional discrimination and prejudice, has made headlines for seeming to snub a Black man grieving the loss of Charles’ mother, Queen Elizbeth II, who passed away on Thursday, Sept. 8,
Days after these claims of institutional discrimination made headlines, on Monday, Sept. 19, Britain’s new leading monarch King Charles III went viral after someone tweeted a video where he appears to shun a Black man in a crowd of white citizens hoping to shake his hand.
The clip, shared by @RamaboduObakeng on Twitter, has been viewed more than 8.4 million times since it was published. The user captioned the post, “Black man, you are on your own.”
Thousands of people turned out to celebrate the Queen in the Palace of Westminster Chapel, and the king and his son Prince William went out to shake hands with the people who were there to show their respect. The king shook all the white mourners’ hands but skipped the man of color.
The Black man reached out his hand when the monarch was close to him. Charles looked away, trying to avoid the man’s face, despite the man continuing to reach out to him.
Some people compared Charles’ response that of the “Sesame Street” character Rosita incident from earlier in the summer. It took place at the Sesame Place theme park on the outskirts of Philadelphia, when one of the adult costumed actors playing the role of Rosita seemed to snub two little Black girls vying for her attention during a parade. The incident was caught on cell phone video and shared with the world via social media.
“Charles (bc they only King we recognize is Martin Luther) pulled a seSame street character on his Black A$$.”
“King Charles channeled his inner Sesame Street with that skip.”
The controversy comes after the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, an African-American married into the royal family, spoke about the discrimination she experienced as the first biracial person to marry into the senior branch of the British monarchy.
Markle, while not naming names, has previously spoken out about people being worried about the complexion of her son before he was born.
The current handshake debacle punctuates an earlier handshake controversy where several refused to shake hands with Markle as she joined her husband, Prince Harry, and her in-laws, the Prince and Princess of Wales, William and Kate, as they greeted mourners who gathered outside of Windsor Castle in England to honor the late Queen Elizabeth II on Sept. 10.
Still, many believe the King Charles incident was not a snub, but simply a missed opportunity based on an overwhelming demand to greet him.
One person on social media said, “King Charles III shook the hands of many black people on that day.”
Another person said, “He eventually acknowledged him by touching him now, Nawa oh. Obviously, he was distracted as he got to them but he did acknowledge him just like he did his neighbor.”