Newly unearthed documents reveal that the Queen’s courtiers banned “coloured immigrants or foreigners” from working in clerical roles in the royal household until the late 1960s.
It was also revealed that the royal family was exempt from laws that prevent race and sex discrimination when employing staff, revelations that come just months after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stunned the world with allegations of racism from within the royal family
The revelations were uncovered as part of an investigation by the Guardian.
They that in 1968, a senior royal official told civil servants that “it was not, in fact, the practice to apppoint coloured immigrants or foreigners” to clerical roles in the royal household, but they could work as domestic servants.
The British government introduced legislation that would prevent employment discrimination on the grounds of race or ethnicity in the 1960s. The Guardian reports the Queen was personally exempt from the laws; meaning women or people from ethnic minorities working in the royal household were unable to take any action against discrimination.
The documents suggest that the then-government believed they may not have been able to push the anti-discrimination legislation through parliament without gaining royal approval first.
In 2010, three separate acts – the 1976 Race Relations Act, the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act and the 1970 Equal Pay Act – were replaced by an umbrella Equality Act. The royal exemption was still present in the new act, and remains to this day.
The investigation follows claims made by the Duchess of Sussex that someone within the royal family had expressed concern about her son Archie’s skin colour.
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The assertion prompted the Duke of Cambridge to defend the current monarchy, declaring, the royal family was “very much not” racist. It was then reported by the BBC that Buckingham Palace would launch a review of its diversity policies.
In a statement to the Guardian, Buckingham Palace noted that they had a separate process for hearing complaints related to discrimination.
However, a Palace spokesman also told E! News, “The Royal Household and the Sovereign comply with provisions of the Equality Act, in principle and in practice. This is reflected in the diversity, inclusion and dignity at work policies, procedures and practices within the royal household. Any complaints that might be raised under the act follow a formal process that provides a means of hearting and remedying any complaint.’
The Guardian said. “the palace did not respond when asked if the Monarch was subject to this act in law.”
Originally published as Royal family’s racism scandal explodes