‘I would nod again’: King Charles’ biographer Catherine Mayer who nodded along as Adjoa Andoh called Buckingham Palace balcony ‘terribly white’ defends Bridgerton star after ITV was hit with record 4,165 Ofcom complaints
A journalist and activist spotted nodding along on live TV as Bridgerton star Adjoa Andoh called the Royal Family ‘terribly white’ while stood on the Buckingham Palace balcony has defended her reaction, declaring: ‘I can only nod again’.
Catherine Mayer, a biographer of King Charles, believes Ms Andoh has nothing to apologise for, sharing an article accusing critics of using it to launch ‘racist attacks’ on the actress and her supporters.
Ms Mayer, an expert on Charles whose godson was in the choir in Westminster Abbey, said: ‘As the woman who was sitting next to Adjoa Andoh and nodding in agreement, I can only nod again’.
Ms Andoh’s remarks on ITV are now the most complained about of the year so far, with 4,165 people going to Ofcom since the Coronation. While Catherine nodded at the comments, fellow pundit Myleene Klass, who was sat between the two women, looked baffled.
The 60-year-old, who plays Lady Agatha Danbury in the Netflix show Bridgerton, said: ‘There is a bit of me that has gone from the rich diversity of the Abbey to the terribly white balcony. I’m very struck by that’. She later went on the BBC and apologised, saying: ‘I didn’t mean to upset anybody.’
Catherine Mayer (far right) nodded as Adjoa Andoh spoke about the ‘terribly white’ Royal Family
Ms Mayer, a journalist and biographer of King Charles, has defended Ms Andoh and her own reaction
She said on Twitter she would nod again and agreed Ms Andoh, who said sorry yesterday, had nothing to apologise for
Yesterday evening Ms Mayer shared a column by former Labour party advisor and journalist Ayesha Hazarika, who said: ‘Adjoa Andoh has absolutely nothing to apologise for’, citing a ‘racially charged backlash I and others like Andoh have had for merely pointing out the lack of diversity which exists within the Royal family’.
Ms Mayer tweeted: ‘Ayesha Hazarika is right and the irony is that those launching racist attacks in supposed defence of King and country instead undermine the man, the monarchy and the UK’.
While Catherine nodded at the remarks, fellow pundit Myleene Klass, who was sat between the two women, looked baffled.
The actress backtracked the following day, insisting in a BBC interview that she’d meant no offence – but that too sparked another furious response from listeners who criticised the presenter for failing to challenge her views. Instead, Radio 4 host Paddy O’Connell told Ms Andoh she had ‘nothing to apologise for’.
Ms Mayer is an American-born British author and journalist, and the President of the Women’s Equality Party (WE) in the UK, which she founded with Sandi Toksvig.
She was married to the musician Andy Gill of Gang of Four, from 1999 until his death in February 2020. She believes that he was one of the earliest victims of Covid-19, although the cause of death officially listed as pneumonia and organ failure.
Her 2015 biography Charles: The Heart of the King made headlines around the world with Clarence House, which had had facilitated access to the then Prince of Wales, forced to give a statement distancing itself from the book.
Adjoa Andoh stunned viewers by calling the Buckingham Palace balcony ‘terribly white’
Ms Andoh (left) stunned her ITV co-stars when she referred to the Buckingham Palace balcony as being ‘terribly white’ during their live Coronation coverage
Ms Andoh said on Saturday: ‘We have gone from the rich diversity of the Abbey to a terribly white balcony. I am very struck by that’
Bridgerton Star Adjoa Andoh, pictured outside the BBC, later insisted she ‘didn’t mean to upset anyone’
Catherine Mayer’s husband Andy was only 64 when he succumbed to a pneumonia, which led to an inconclusive investigation that suspected he had been one of the earliest UK Covid fatalities. Pictured: Catherine with her husband Andy Gill in 2015
It described Charles as a prince who will ‘never be remote and silent like his mother’. He was quoted as saying: ‘I want to raise aspirations and recreate hope from hopelessness and health from deprivation.’
Ms Mayer spoke of Charles as a man who ‘rarely recognises his own achievements’ and ‘a glass-half-empty man’, a ‘Prince of Wails’.
Another close figure talks of Charles’s temper. ‘The royal rage, I call it. Here comes the royal rage’, the book.
Her knowledge of Charles saw her on the ITV sofa for the Coronation where Ms Andoh made the comment when the royals were standing on the Buckingham Palace balcony to watch the traditional Red Arrows flypast.
Her remarks prompted a major backlash on social media, with one Twitter user slamming her comments as ‘ridiculous’ and asking: ‘How can she get away with that? Any white person would have to make a public apology.’
A second commenter asked: ‘Why is it OK to dismiss a white family for being white?’
A third said: ‘I’m disappointed in Adjoa Andoh. The Coronation focused on promoting positive race relations & representing modern Britain.
‘There were many people from diverse backgrounds who had prominent positions yesterday, and yet Adjoa chose to discriminate with her divisive comment.’
Andoh later appeared on BBC Radio 4 to clarify her comments and apologised.
She said: ‘I think I upset a few people yesterday.
‘I was talking about the day and how marvellous it was and then looking at the balcony at the end and suddenly going: ‘Oh it’s so white!’ because the day had been so mixed and I didn’t mean to upset anybody.’
The actress plays Lady Danbury, pictured left, in the popular period TV series Bridgerton
Ms Andoh made her Hollywood debut in 2009 in Clint Eastwood’s hit-film Invictus alongside Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon
The BBC is also facing criticism over the interview with Radio 4’s Paddy O’Connell after he told Ms Andoh she had ‘nothing to apologise for’. Her supporters say the backlash is wrong and a case of ‘white fragility’.
One Twitter user said in response: ‘Bridgerton star Adjoa Andoh has just tried to back track on @bbcradio4, about her comment that the Buckingham Palace balcony was ‘terribly white’.
‘And then the presenter Paddy O’Connell tells her that she’s got nothing to apologise for. Please don’t speak for me!’
Another critic tweeted that her comments were ‘outrageous’ and create ‘division’ while another said: ‘Paddy O’Connell is an enabler. Where is the impartiality @BBCRadio4?’
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