You guys, I’m starting to think that Buckingham Palace is never going to give us an update on that “diversity tsar” they promised to hire. Remember that? In March of this year, they were suddenly incredibly keen to announce their plans to hire a diversity tsar, and of course none of it had anything to do with their decades of racism or their more recent racist bullsh-t with the Duchess of Sussex. Weird how we haven’t heard anything else about the diversity tsar in the two months-plus since the initial announcement. It’s almost like it was just a little diversion PR with zero follow-through, because of course these a–holes couldn’t even be expected to actually hire someone to help them be less racist. Speaking of, the Guardian has discovered that Queen Elizabeth’s courtiers banned brown and Black folks from working in clerical roles throughout the 1950s and 1960s. I would think that the ban is likely still in place.
The Queen’s courtiers banned “coloured immigrants or foreigners” from serving in clerical roles in the royal household until at least the late 1960s, according to newly discovered documents that will reignite the debate over the British royal family and race. The documents also shed light on how Buckingham Palace negotiated controversial clauses – that remain in place to this day – exempting the Queen and her household from laws that prevent race and sex discrimination.
The papers were discovered at the National Archives as part of the Guardian’s ongoing investigation into the royal family’s use of an arcane parliamentary procedure, known as Queen’s consent, to secretly influence the content of British laws. They reveal how in 1968, the Queen’s chief financial manager informed civil servants that “it was not, in fact, the practice to appoint coloured immigrants or foreigners” to clerical roles in the royal household, although they were permitted to work as domestic servants.
It is unclear when the practice ended. Buckingham Palace refused to answer questions about the ban and when it was revoked. It said its records showed people from ethnic minority backgrounds being employed in the 1990s. It added that before that decade, it did not keep records on the racial backgrounds of employees.
In the 1960s government ministers sought to introduce laws that would make it illegal to refuse to employ an individual on the grounds of their race or ethnicity. The Queen has remained personally exempted from those equality laws for more than four decades. The exemption has made it impossible for women or people from ethnic minorities working for her household to complain to the courts if they believe they have been discriminated against.
In a statement, Buckingham Palace did not dispute that the Queen had been exempted from the laws, adding that it had a separate process for hearing complaints related to discrimination. The palace did not respond when asked what this process consists of.
The exemption from the law was brought into force in the 1970s, when politicians implemented a series of racial and sexual equality laws to eradicate discrimination. The official documents reveal how government officials in the 1970s coordinated with Elizabeth Windsor’s advisers on the wording of the laws.
“Completely shocking,” cried absolutely no one. Even today, you’re more likely to see people of color working as palace domestic staff or kitchen staff as opposed to working in any of the office positions. Let’s be real, that’s still very common across the board in Fortune 500 companies, law firms and powerful organizations. The difference is that the Queen and the old white men who control her are supposed to be symbolic of the diverse, multifaith, multiethnic society which Liz nominally “rules.” Instead, Buckingham Palace and the British monarchy have symbolized the significant layers within the legacy of colonialism.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.