Another thunder pounding in Buckingham? The palace reportedly refused to hire “immigrants of color or foreigners” to religious or senior positions, at least until the late 1960s, and obtained exceptions to anti-discrimination laws, the Guardian revealed Thursday.
The newspaper was investigating the use of the Royal Assent procedure – where the British monarch must give the go-ahead for any law affecting his powers or interests before it is debated by MPs – when it discovered that Buckingham Palace had negotiated clauses exempting the Queen and her House from a 1968 anti-discrimination law .
In a note from the National Archives, a Home Office official recounts how one of the Queen’s top advisers, Lord Tryon, told her that the palace did not employ members of minority ethnic groups to government positions. He also indicated that minors would agree to the anti-discrimination bill if they benefited from exemptions similar to those granted to the diplomatic corps, which could reject the application if the person had resided in the UK for less than five years. On the other hand, the assignment of “people of color to normal household jobs” was authorized, the memo states.
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Until today, the Queen and her family have been officially exempted from this anti-discrimination law. However, the palace is committed to “in principle and in fact,” a Buckingham spokesperson said on Thursday. He stressed that “this is reflected in the diversity, inclusion and dignity” of the royal family’s practices.
“Claims based on an indirect account of conversations from more than 50 years ago should not be used to draw conclusions about how things are going today,” he added.
The revelation came just months after Prince Harry, sixth in line to the throne, and his wife, Meghan Markle, accused the royal family of racism, in a shocking interview on US television. In response to a question from Oprah Winfrey, the Sussexes reported that an unnamed member of the royal family was concerned about the skin color their son Archie would have before he was born. He once invited his brother, Prince William, to be king, then defended the establishment, arguing that the royal family “wasn’t a racist family at all.”
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