According to shocking documents obtained by The Guardian, Buckingham Palace
is facing new allegations of racist
and discriminatory hiring practices.
The Guardian reported on Wednesday that in 1968, “it was not, in fact, the practice to appoint coloured immigrants or foreigners” to serve in Buckingham Palace clerical roles, though minorities and foreigners were reportedly permitted to work as domestic servants.
According to the Guardian, the practice continued until at least the late 1960s, and Buckingham Palace "refused to answer questions about the ban and when it was revoked." However, the palace did add that "its records showed people
from ethnic minority backgrounds being employed in the 1990s," and that it did not record the racial backgrounds of employees prior to the 1990s.
For more than four decades, Queen Elizabeth
has been exempt from workplace
equality laws, according to the Guardian.
According to the Guardian, the exemptions have “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,” though the palace told the outlet that it has a “separate process for hearing discrimination complaints,” but would not elaborate further.
Buckingham Palace added in a statement, "The royal household and the sovereign comply with the provisions of the Equality Act, in principle and in practice, as evidenced by the diversity
, inclusion, and dignity at work policies, procedures, and practices within the royal household."
The Firm, as the royal family
and the institution it encompasses are sometimes referred to, most recently faced racist allegations in March, when Meghan Markle
and Prince Harry
revealed to Oprah Winfrey
that a member of the royal family expressed racist “concerns and conversations” about the skin color of the couple’s son, Archie, prior to his birth.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex
refused to identify the family member, though they later clarified that the comments were not made by Queen Elizabeth or Prince Philip.
, according to Prince William
, are "very much not a racist family," and Buckingham Palace issued a statement on behalf of the queen following the interview
“The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement. “The issues raised, particularly those of race, are concerning, and while some recollections may differ, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed privately by the family.”
Following Meghan and Harry's interview with Oprah, the Daily Mail
reported that Queen Elizabeth was considering appointing a "diversity tsar" to oversee increased diversity efforts within the royal household.
“You're not going to tell me who had that conversation?" Oprah asks after Meghan mentions concerns about her child's skin color. "I think that would be very damaging to them." #OprahMeghanHarry pic.twitter.com/TGulbooO8P — philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) March 8, 2021
Prince Andrew has previously been accused of using racist language, with a former Downing Street aide, Rohan Silva, accusing the Duke of York of using a racial slur in front of him at a meeting in 2012.
Silva, of Sri Lankan descent, claimed in a column for the Evening Standard that Andrew once told him, "Well, if you pardon
the expression, that really is the nigger in the woodpile." Palace sources denied the exchange.
During another conversation, Silva claimed the duke told him, "What you have to remember is that you'll never get anywhere by playing the white man."
Elizabeth Burgess, a former secretary at Prince Charles
' Highgrove estate, accused Michael Fawcett, the Prince of Wales' trusted valet, of referring to her with a racial slur in 2001.
“One time we were in the dining room talking about the office
bible, the policy and procedures document that we were working on, and as I left [Fawcett] said: ‘What the hell would you know, you’re just a fucking nigger typist,’” Burgess, who is Black, recalled in a Guardian article in 2001.
“They wanted a white face at Highgrove, and I was not that face,” Burgess added, adding that “the Prince of Wales’s household is still very much the old school, and they have not really taken to Black people.”
“I never felt like I was a part of the team,” she continued, “there were always Black jokes
and names flying
around, and because it is the Royal Family, it is still very protected, with its own set of rules and regulations.”