The royals have landed in hot water once again, this time over allegations that they refused to hire ethnic minorities to work for Buckingham Palace.
On Thursday, The Guardian reported that the palace once barred ethnic minorities and immigrants from holding jobs during the 1960s. The revelation was gleaned from Britain’s National Archives. The British newspaper also claimed the documents show that, in 1968, the chief financial manager directly stated that the palace didn’t want to hire “coloured immigrants or foreigners” for a variety of office jobs.
The palace quickly released a statement in response that stressed Queen Elizabeth and her household comply “in principle and in practice” with anti-discrimination legislation. “Claims based on a second-hand account of conversations from over 50 years ago should not be used to draw or infer conclusions about modern-day events or operations,” the palace spokesperson said.
This recent news is just another example of the litany of accusations of racism lobbied against the royal family in recent months. Race, in particular, has become a central point of discussion for the House of Windsor following Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s televised interview with Oprah in March.
The fallout from the interview, which included revelations that certain members of the royal family were “concerned” about the colour of baby Archie’s skin, has been swift. While many viewers were divided over the revelations, it’s clearly dealt the House of Windsor a crushing blow to their reputation. It even got to the point where one reporter point-blank asked Prince William if his family was racist. His response? “We very much not a racist family.”
Considering all of Britain is currently having a long overdue conversation about its imperial past, at the time we took William’s response with a grain of salt. We still do. Just like we’re skeptical of the palace statement released today regarding the allegations around not hiring ethnic minorities. Systemic racism starts from the top. The royal family needs to do better, but it’s unlikely that they will.
For decades, for generations, they’ve gotten a free pass. They’re used to tempering those flames with the expectation of being “forgiven.” But now, with Harry and Meghan refusing to shy away and back down from voicing their experiences within palace walls, more eyes than ever are on the royals to make some serious changes. This discovery in the National Archives is just another example of why Britain, and the royals, need to do more to confront their colonial past.
Read the entire report from The Guardian.