Prince Charles‘ goddaughter India Hicks, 54, has admitted she told her black adopted son to ditch the jeans and hoodies and ‘start dressing differently’ when travelling with her white children after he was ‘always taken to one side’.
The granddaughter of Earl Mountbatten, 54, who was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Lady Diana Spencer and the Prince of Wales, spoke to Sheerluxe, an online lifestyle magazine, about her Bahamian adopted son Wesley Cleare, 25, and the Black Lives Matter movement.
She said she noticed that when her sons used to travel to the US, for example, ‘it was always Wesley who was taken to one side’.
‘After a while, we recommended Wes start dressing differently – travelling in chinos and a blazer as opposed to jeans and a hoodie seemed to help, if you can believe it. It’s very sad when you think about it,’ she admitted.
Describing him as a ‘fixture’ in the family the mother-of-five explained that she adopted Wesley from the Bahamas when he was 12-years-old after his birth mother died of breast cancer.
India has become more aware of how the world sees her son since the BLM movement in June of 2020. Pictured with Wes and Felix on a Kitesurfing trip to Watermen’s retreat in the US
The granddaughter of Earl Mountbatten, 54, who was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Lady Diana Spencer and the Prince of Wales, spoke to Sheerluxe , an online lifestyle magazine, about her adopted son Wesley, 24, and the Black Lives Matter movement. Pictured: At The Wallace Collection in London in 2019
India had befriended Wesley’s mother Lynne, who was working as a waitress on Harbour Island in the Bahamas, while the pair were both pregnant.
When Wesley was born India offered to look after both children and even before his mother’s death, Wesley travelled to England with the family to spend summer with them.
In 2008, Wesley’s mother moved the family some 50 miles away from Harbour Island to Nassau, meaning the family saw less of Wesley until 2010 when, by chance, India found herself sat on a plane next to him.
He told India of how severe his mother’s illness was and two days later Lynne passed away. After the funeral Wesley’s father suggested that India should look after the 12-year-old for a while and she agreed without hesitation.
India during a trip to the London restaurant, Dans Le Noir with her four sons and her now husband
Now, it’s thought that Wesley lives on Harbour Island, where he works as a marine technician and spends time with his American Bull dog Fiona, but spends time in the summer in Oxfordshire.
After admitting she had made her fair share of parenting mistakes, she revealed that her son, Conrad, advised her not to place Wesley in the guest room when he arrived, so he wouldn’t feel excluded.
She said: ‘Because Felix was away at boarding school at the time, we decided Wes could sleep in his room. Even so, he refused to sleep in Felix’s bed, preferring instead to sleep on a camp bed on the floor.’
Despite the change of location, Wesley didn’t feel comfortable sleeping in Felix’s bed and instead chose to ‘sleep on a camp bed’ on the floor, and refused the offer to have his own room.
India, not understanding the reason for her adopted son’s decision, explained she only recently learned more about the challenges he faces when the Black Lives Matter movement hit the headlines.
‘It’s become a more conscious issue. In some ways, having him as part of our family has given me a better insight into these societal problems’ she revealed.
After realising that Wesley often got stopped and questioned as he and his brother, Amory, made their way to the US, India started to see the disparities in the way Wesley was viewed.
‘When Amory and Wesley used to travel to the US, for example, it was always Wesley who was taken to one side, and Amory was let straight through. He would sit and wait for his brother to come out of the interview and always told us how agonising it was.’
She later remarked on how sad it made her to have to ask Wesley to ‘start dressing differently’ by wearing chinos and a blazer instead of jeans while travelling—and expressed her regret over the fact that it worked.
Wesley and Felix smile together in a bathtub as young boys. The two were close long before they officially became brothers, said the proud mother
The granddaughter of Earl Mountbatten recently got married to partner David Flint on September 10.
For the occasion she wore a turtle neck wedding dress by Emilia Wickstead complete with ivory tull and lace and an A-line skirt for the big day.
She completed the look with a classic pair of white satin shoes by Louboutin and carried a bouquet by Pulbrook & Gould London.
She added a lace veil and simple drop pearl earrings as many stars watched on including jazz singer Jamie Cullum and his wife former model Sophie Dahl – granddaughter of legendary writer Roald – and American actress Brooke Shields.
The bride was driven to the church by her son Wesley, 24. Felix, India’s fist born of her five children, then walked her down the aisle.