Buckingham Palace avoided hiring “immigrants of color or foreigners” in administrative roles until at least the late 1960s, documents obtained exclusively by British newspaper The Guardian show.
In documents unearthed at the National Archives, the Queen’s financial director reported in 1968 that it was “not, in fact, customary to appoint black or foreign immigrants” to the administrative functions of the palace, although they are allowed to work as domestic servants. servants.
Buckingham Palace did not respond to questions about the ban or when it was lifted. He only claimed that people from ethnic minorities were employed by the royal family in the 1990s and that before that there was no record of the racial origins of the employees.
The article picks up on the discussion of racism in the royal family, which came to light in March, when Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex and wife of Prince Harry – grandson of Elizabeth 2 – said in an interview that the royalty had worried about color. of their first child, Archie, born in 2019.
Meghan said there were “concerns and discussions about the color of her skin when she was born.” According to the Duchess, the family had these conversations with Harry, who reported them to Meghan – she did not disclose the people involved. that statements would be “taken very seriously”. Days later, Prince William – second in line to the British throne, behind his father Prince Charles – criticized the interview and said the royal family was not racist.
The papers released Wednesday (2) emerged during the Guardian’s investigation into the so-called “Queen’s Consent” procedure, by which the Royal Family influences the content of British laws.
According to the documents, Queen Elizabeth II and her family were exempt from laws that prevent racial and gender discrimination. The exception, which remains today, was negotiated in 1968, when then Home Secretary James Callaghan proposed extending racial discrimination laws to ban it in the domestic market. work or in public services, and not just presence in public places.
In February of the same year, an Home Office official reported the discussions to Lord Tryon, head of the royal private finance administration, who, according to the documents, responded that Buckingham would comply with the new law at condition of benefiting from exemptions similar to those of the diplomatic service. , which allow you to reject applicants who have resided in the UK for less than five years.
As a result of this exemption, the Race Relations Board, which was responsible for investigating racial discrimination, would refer any complaints from royal family officials to the Home Secretary, not to the courts. In 1997, Buckingham told the Independent newspaper that he had failed to follow the policy of monitoring teams to ensure equal opportunity.
On Wednesday (2), a palace spokesperson said the Queen and the Royal Household “abide by the provisions of the Equality Act, in principle and in practice”. “This is reflected in the policies, procedures and practices of diversity, inclusion and dignity at work within the royal household,” said palace staff.