Whoops, Buckingham Palace isn’t in the market for a diversity tsar after all

State Opening of Parliament

Back in March, Buckingham Palace made a big, splashy announcement: they were absolutely, 100% in the market for a shiny new “diversity tsar.” This childish and panicked PR had nothing to do with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex calling out the institution for being cruel, racist and lacking in diversity, of course. No no no. The plans for a diversity tsar had been underway before H&M’s interview, thank you very much. In the months that followed that announcement, we heard next to nothing about this big “diversity tsar” hire, but we did hear that the Queen had ensured that “coloured immigrants and foreigners” had been banned from office work in royal palaces for decades, and we just heard this week that BP staff is only 8.5% ethnic minority (and no one knows how few of those people of color work in office staff positions). So, clearly, the need for a diversity tsar is growing more desperate by the day, yes? Welp, I guess not.

It was just three months ago that Buckingham Palace confirmed it was considering to appoint a diversity chief to review policies across all royal households. But despite lower-than-average employment diversity statistics shared in a new financial report, the palace has now shelved plans for the role, though it hasn’t ruled out the idea entirely.

The news was confirmed alongside the release of the 2020–21 Sovereign Grant Report, which, for the first time, openly disclosed the proportion of ethnic minority employees working at the palace—8.5 percent. Clarence House, the household of Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, came in at a slightly lower 8 percent, with officials admitting that there is “more work to do” on the issue of diversity. Kensington Palace, the home of Prince William and Duchess Kate, declined to share a number, although it is believed to be far lower than the others, according to a source.

“Her Majesty and the royal family have promoted and embraced the diversity of our nation and that of the Commonwealth, and we recognize that our own workforce needs to reflect the communities we serve,” a palace source tells BAZAAR.com. “We recognize we are not where we would like to be and that despite all our efforts to target recruitment, train managers, and build an inclusive workplace, the results have not been what we would like.”

However, despite no current plans to hire a diversity chief, a palace source explains that the institution is striving to create a more diverse workforce and hasn’t ruled out the role entirely. “We are committed to improving this, hence we have started to publish diversity statistics to ensure we are open and transparent about our efforts to improve,” the source says. “We fully expect to be held accountable regarding our progress.”

[From Harper’s Bazaar]

In the end, maybe the “diversity tsar” was the friends we made along the way. Who would have thought that the big rollout of “plans to hire a diversity tsar” was just some clownish, short-sighted PR in the wake of the Sussexes’ interview? Oh, right, it was as obvious as can be. There was never any intention to hire someone tasked with diversifying palace staff, to be clear. The only intention was to make the big announcement to look like they were “doing something” and they “understood” that maybe Harry & Meghan had a point about how racist they were. But of course none of the white men who work for Liz and Charles actually want to *do* anything about any of it.

Also: “Kensington Palace, the home of Prince William and Duchess Kate, declined to share a number, although it is believed to be far lower than the others, according to a source.” Far lower like zero, would be my guess.

Fiftieth anniversary of the Investiture of the Prince of Wales

Photos courtesy of Backgrid and Avalon Red.

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65 Responses to “Whoops, Buckingham Palace isn’t in the market for a diversity tsar after all”

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  1. Alexandria says:

    They won’t change. Only UK citizens will force them to change and nobody is marching the streets. So they won’t change.

    • Gillysirl says:

      Completely agree with this. How many times have they hired different types of “crisis managers”? They all leave because the RF won’t listen to them. They think the crisis managers are there to help them convince everyone else that the RF is right and everyone else is wrong.

      • iconoclast59 says:

        It’s clear from the isht-show of the past few weeks that there are no “crisis managers.” Another lie put out there by the RF.

    • Andrew’s Nemesis says:

      @Alexandria We had marches and calls for change in the form of Black Lives Matter. But as ever, the powers that be have only tinkered around the edges, not addressing the structural racism that underpins UK society in the form of its class system. And the apex – or should I say, nadir – of that class system is the Royal Family. The Royal Family exists as a form of supreme white privilege, its power enhanced and maintained through colonisation of people of colour. This colonisation is framed as benign, but at its core asserts that the white power structure, encapsulated in the Queen, is not only dominant: it is the ideal, the idyll.
      Diversity in the RF’s employment system is a sham, a token. It doesn’t matter how many people from diverse backgrounds are hired. They are and always will be considered subordinate to the white suprematist class system. What a sham.

      • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

        What does matter, even with these piddly percentages, is IN WHAT POSITIONS are these placements? Obviously, not front and center, as we never see any POC with the royals. So I’m thinking this is domestic staff/gardening/grounds etc. positions at the highest.

        “Do better” my a$$. If they DO hire more to boost the percentage, you know exactly where those people will be placed.

      • Killfanora says:

        And 13% of UK residents are from ethnic minority groups, so AT LEAST 13% of royal households should be from those same groups. Not 8% or 8.5%……

      • Alexandria says:

        @Andrew’s Nemesis the BRF do not view BLM marches as against them. If there were huge marches specifically against the royals, and critical articles every day, they would be forced to listen. But I agree with you institutional change is very difficult to dismantle.

      • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

        Also, didn’t one CBer write in yesterday just how skewered the RF’s breakdown of “ethnic” is, that it is NOT just POC, but also “others”, such as other EU immigrants. She said something (and forgive me for paraphrasing as I can’t get back to get the exact quote), that even a WHITE person, with a French or Eastern European heritage, would still be counted in the “diversity” number. So it’s still very telling, isn’t it?

      • Andrew’s Nemesis says:

        @Alexandria I was referring to the BLM movement as a fight against structural whiteness, supremacy and disenfranchisement via the class system, of which the Royal Family is the apex.

  2. Oh_Hey says:

    Shocker – lol
    Those two crisis managers are just collecting their checks and letting the BRF flop cause they know there’s just nothing to be done.

    • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

      And please do NOT forget that TRF has made sure that they are EXEMPT from the laws governing diversity. They made *sure* of this.

  3. Nomegusta says:

    I bet y’all 6 dollars and 42 cents that BP/Chuck counted Archie and Meghan in that diversity percentage..

  4. Cecilia says:

    *pretends to be shocked*

  5. Eurydice says:

    I was sure there was no diversity tsar. Just as I’m sure there’s no investigation into Meghan’s “bullying” or any of the other things the palace said it would do. They don’t change, they won’t change, they don’t have to change. Just stall until everyone forgets about it.

  6. PEARL GREY says:

    They were never going to hire a “diversity tsar”. This was a cleanup tactic from their newly appointed crisis managers to fool the public into thinking the accusations of racism (of which recollections may vary, don’t you know) were going to be taken seriously, while waiting for the fallout to blow over.

    But more importantly, where are the press and public to lead the call for their future-future monarch and consort William and Catherine to release the percentage of non-white staff in Kensington palace? Why isn’t the Duke of Elegance eager to prove his family and court are “very much not racist”? What happened to the guy that so bravely declared his boredom with racism, who so gallantly chastised the BAFTA awards for their lack of diversity, who proudly paraded his BAME Buddy™️ to vouch for him in the papers, who heroically defended the monarchy after evil race-baiter Meghan made her incendiary accusations?

    • Over it says:

      Omg all this . Every damm word you said

    • Jais says:

      Chastising the BAFTAS about diversity when they won’t release their own diversity numbers, which are far lower than 8%. Ugh, good point, pearl grey. The tabloids could write article over article about this hypocrisy. But they won’t.

      • PEARL GREY says:

        @JAIS Absolutely. Yet more proof of the “contract” between the royals and the British press. Harry and Meghan only need to breathe and the rota rats will contort themselves into pretzels to find a way to accuse them of some sort of hypocrisy, yet William now refuses to release his palace diversity data after making headlines and receiving praise for criticising the BAFTAS for theirs, and it’s total silence from those same reporters. “You couldn’t make it up”, which is a line the press love to use to troll against H&M.

      • Becks1 says:

        Honestly, they should be required to release those numbers. That would be a start (a small start, but something.) I’m actually surprised that BP and CH did, given their numbers are so low. They all should be required to release their diversity statistics every year.

      • Myra says:

        The audacity of that man. Not just tabloids. CNN could do a whole point by point of inconsistencies about Meghan’s interview and here is a damning revelation about KP and nothing? I need them to maintain the same consistency.

      • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

        Becks, the numbers mean less than zero, considering the positions they are hiring these people for. If they had ANY POC in ANY positions above domestic, they’d be parading them front and center right now. Instead, crickets.

      • Roo says:

        So will anyone at the next ceremony have the ovaries to call out the RF? I hope so!

      • Christine says:

        Becks, that is the part that has me shaking my head as well. Who thought it was a good idea to put out these numbers? I mean, if it were about Harry and Meghan, there would be multiple articles a day, see also, we all know exactly how many bathrooms are in Frogmore, but William and Kate’s diversity percentage is apparently so bad that they thought it would look worse to put next to the meager 8-8.5%, and someone told the Queen and Charles that 8-8.5% are percentages that should be released to the public.

        Why? No one is marching in the streets, there are no protests, not one person has bothered to make an effigy, a la Guy Fawkes, so who decided that these abysmal numbers should be made public, much less the fact that Will and Kate’s are obviously so dire, they cannot even be spoken? Anyone with a passing knowledge of how the royal family works knows statements routinely come from BP, Clarence House, AND Kensington Palace. The omission is all the more telling because we know how these three houses of the monarch and heirs work.

    • Becks1 says:

      Excellent point about the BAFTAs.

      I wonder how many people work for KP. I can’t imagine it’s that many. If they have 20 people, then one person would put them at 5%, right? that’s not “too” far below 8%. I mean its not good, but its not horrible (in comparison to the 8, objectively its horrible, lol).

      ETA so again we’re back to if they’re not telling us, then its REALLY low. Like 0.

      • Eurydice says:

        I looked up KP and a site said that there are 50 living there – 8 or so are royals (now that Eugenie and Jack have moved out) and the rest are courtiers, staff, some military, and some private individuals who pay market rent. – so, your 20 number might not be too far off.

    • ➕💯Euroddice and Pearl Grey.

    • Christine says:

      God, so much this.

  7. Sharon Clark says:

    I used to be a fan of the BRF, but the last decade has irrevocably proven that their time is past. They’re stuck back in time and have demonstrated time and time again they have zero desire to evolve. It’s time!

    • Snuffles says:

      For me it was always about Diana. Then I cared about how her boys turned out. I could take or leave the rest of them. Now I only care about Harry, Meghan and their offspring.

    • Maria says:

      Used to be a strong monarchist and loved the queen. Studied British royal history for the majority of my academic life and obtained two British postgraduate degrees. Considered myself an honorary Brit.
      No more. I’m sure a very significant number of people are for Harry and Meghan in the UK but this whole thing has exposed how rotten to the core the system is, and how deeply tied up the monarchy is in the framework of society and politics.
      When the UK’s largest anti-monarchy group is claiming Harry and Meghan (the two who no longer live on taxpayer money!) are organizing illegal transfers for their charitable funds instead of focusing on things like how The Duchy of Cornwall is Charles’ private tax write off, something is very wrong.

  8. AVEA says:

    I’m sure Catherine, the Duchess of buttons, Countess lynchpin, Lady Guevara would make an amazing tsar! She IS a peacemaker after all! Yas future future Queen!

  9. GrnieWnie says:

    huh, white people surrounded by white people are astounded to discover that some may perceive their behavior as racist. White people surrounded by white people are baffled when others decline to accept their claims of “not being racist” or attempts to define racism to everyone else. Who’d have thought?

  10. Amy Bee says:

    Bringing in a diversity czar would mean some of those white men at the top would lose their jobs so that was never going to happen. What’s funny is the Queen is supposed to be a feminist but she’s never had a female Private Secretary and she’s supposed to be a champion of diversity but only 8% of her staff are non-white.

    • Becks1 says:

      When people talk about the queen as a feminist I’m reminded of the SNL skit “complicit” about Ivanka Trump….”but like…..how?”

    • SarahCS says:

      Yeah she is female, that does not a feminist make.

    • Eurydice says:

      One of the main arguments against diversity I used to hear in my company was “But there aren’t any qualified black people out there.” Sure, if the qualifications you’re looking for in an applicant are 2 PhDs and an MBA, never mind that the white guys only needed to know someone. So, I imagine that if the qualification for upper-level service at the palace is that one should be the 17th cousin twice removed from the Viscount Whoozits, then yeah, you’re not going to find a lot of POC in that cohort.

      • Becks1 says:

        I think this is exactly part of the problem with the royals. If they pull many of their more senior positions from the aristocracy (or aristo-adjacent) then it makes sense that its mostly white. They aren’t going out of their way to hire someone who isn’t part of the usual palace pipeline, which is sad, and is def part of the issue. Had they had a few more people from diverse backgrounds working with Meghan, Sussexit may have looked very different. And I’m not just talking about race – if they had people who had actually worked, who maybe had put themselves through college (and so had to work the whole time), people who came from different families besides the “usual families”, people who went to different schools, etc.

        But they won’t do that so here we are.

  11. Becks1 says:

    Well we all saw this coming, unfortunately.

    I think they DO need some sort of diversity chief. They all desperately need in-depth diversity training, and they need it more than once. They need to understand that just because they never called Meghan a racial slur* does not mean they were not racist towards her. They need to examine how their structures are racist, how the aristocracy is about white supremacy, how its racist to have 8.5% of your staff be ethnic minority and I’m assuming none of them are senior staff. They need to agree to follow all laws regarding racial discrimination in the workplace and they need to allow their employees to pursue their legal rights in this regard (I’m not sure what those would be in the UK).

    *maybe they did, but I’m just saying as far as we know.

    • LaraW” says:

      They need a f-ckin HR department is what they need. I know Meghan said she went to HR to seek help for her suicidal intent/ideation, but now my impression of their HR department is that it consists of two people: one who manages “the help” and the other an aristo who just sits around and gives positions to their friends.

      It’s clear that the foundations have their own internal structure and presumably HR departments. Or is that also folded into the “we don’t have to abide by UK laws re diversity in hiring”?

      • Becks1 says:

        I would love to know what their HR department looks like. I bet your description of it isn’t too far off.

      • pottymouth pup says:

        they apparently DO have an HR department but it appears as though their sole responsibilities are helping people create complaints against the Meghan and helping transition the firm’s leakiest tools to positions outside the firm to prevent to much of the stink from blowing back on the nice, white, royals

  12. taris says:

    i dont think minority people (or any people for that matter) should be seeking employment at the palace until the ghastly workplace equality exemptions we were hearing about just a few weeks ago are lifted. by now we should all realise that simply moving minorities into white spaces isn’t always ‘progress’. without real structural changes this could all just be a recipe for disaster.

    btw, anybody who believed the windsors were actually serious about that diversity tsar needs to get their head checked

  13. Jay says:

    Well, they’re doing *such* a great job not being racist, who needs a diversity tsar?

    Truly though, this is a good thing for whatever person would have ended up in this thankless job. I keep going back to the articles about Bon Appetit, and how they tried hiring people to ” fix the diversity problem”, but didn’t give them any power, and didn’t want to change the structure of the company. It put people in impossible, stressful situations.

  14. Merricat says:

    The rf is completely unprepared for the death of the queen, the 21st century, the transfer of power, all of it.

  15. SarahCS says:

    Well I think we all saw this coming.

    As an aside, yesterday I saw a couple of comments referencing their numbers against the general population in the UK which is something like 13.7% so they’re actually not far off (apart from KP of course). However… I do quite a bit of work with construction and services businesses and when they’re tendering for contracts one of their targets is about having a workforce which represents the LOCAL population. If we hold the BRF and their palace staffs to this then whoo they have a long way to go. Let’s have that conversation please media.

    • TabithaD says:

      But in London (where BP, CH and KP are all situated), it’s closer to 40%, which makes their figures look really quite poor.

  16. equality says:

    They could have reported the figures across all royal households and hidden KP’s figures in that way but did not. It really is every palace for itself in their system. It’s hilarious to me. CH and BP didn’t want their numbers brought down by KP. Since Charles is supposedly running BP for the Queen he is hanging Will out to dry with this.

    • Becks1 says:

      Oooh good point. They absolutely could have done that. But KP’s numbers would have brought them all down and Charles didn’t want that. He really did leave Will out to dry ha.

      Maybe Uncle Gary should stop giving so many interviews.

  17. aquarius64 says:

    Not a surprise especially at KP. The monarchy is going to tank when Liz passes.

  18. Cessily says:

    No surprise. I highly doubt they have or will hire an outside investigation into the false bullying accusations also.
    They feel no need to change any of the Firms practices and above the trivial things that everyday people have to go through.

  19. MsIam says:

    They’ve probably already fired the “PR Crisis Managers”. ” Oh everything’s fine now, we’ll call if we need your help again. Bye!!!” This dusty bunch will never change.

  20. swirlmamad says:

    LMAO….of course, KP ain’t got no black folks/people of color working there. Is that supposed to be a surprise? Did anyone see how uncomfortable Kate looked when she and William were in the US for that tour and they met Lebron James? How dare that big black man touch her! The HORROR!!!$&J!!!

    • Jais says:

      Need buzzfeed or Twitter to post all the photo ops the royals do with strategically placed poc alongside the 8.5% diversity report and KP’s refusal to even post their numbers. It’s offensive to have these strategic photo ops when the reality doesn’t match.

  21. TabithaD says:

    Hmm. Well obviously I think KP should disclose their findings too – though it’s fairly clear that those findings would be embarrassing. But I have some other questions too.
    For example, what is meant by “ethnic minority” here? In the UK, it does not necessarily mean POC as it includes white ethnic minorities such as Irish travellers. So it would be good to know what CH and BP think it means. And how the 8% breaks down into different ethnicities.
    And how do these figures break down into staff roles? Are they all domestic staff? Are there any senior staff at all?
    And TBH I think they could do with a diversity csar. Otherwise how do they explain that in London of all places, a very diverse city, they have somehow failed to find enough non-white candidates?

  22. Coco says:

    Monarchy: “We tried to get you a diversity tsar, but couldn’t find one anywhere we looked.”
    British Media: “Don’t worry, it’s the thought that counts.”

  23. Paisley25 says:

    I’m not sure what the breakdown is in other departments but Angela Kelly included a staff picture in her latest book. As of 2019, she had 2, maybe 3, women of color among her staff of eleven. She described what each person did only by first name, so I don’t know the seniority level of those women.