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Buckingham Palace banned ‘coloured immigrants or foreigners’ from office roles.

Buckingham Palace banned ‘coloured immigrants or foreigners’ from office roles.

The Queen’s courtiers banned ethnic minorities from serving in clerical roles in the royal household
The Queen’s courtiers banned ethnic minorities from serving in clerical roles in the royal household

BUCKINGHAM Palace banned “coloured immigrants or foreigners” from office roles until at least the late 1960s, according to new documents.

The papers, which were recently discovered at the National Archives, show the Queen’s courtiers banned ethnic minorities from serving in clerical roles in the royal household.

The files also reveal 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 move is set to reignite the debate over the British royal family and race. It is 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.

The documents 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, but they were permitted to work as domestic servants.

It is unclear when the practice ended and Buckingham Palace refused to answer questions about the ban and when it was revoked.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.

But the Queen has been excluded from those equality laws for more than 40 years, which has made it impossible for people from ethnic minorities working for Buckingham Palace 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, but it did not detail what this process consists of.

The official documents reveal how government officials in the 1970s coordinated with the Queen’s advisers on the wording of the laws.

In March the Duchess of Sussex, the family’s first mixed-race member, said she had had suicidal thoughts during her time in the royal family, and alleged that a member of the family had expressed concern about her child’s skin colour.

Some of the documents uncovered by the Guardian relate to the use of Queen’s consent, an obscure parliamentary mechanism through which the monarch grants parliament permission to debate laws that affect her and her private interests.

In 1968, the then home secretary, James Callaghan, and civil servants at the Home Office appear to have believed that they should not request Queen’s consent for parliament to debate the race relations bill until her advisers were satisfied it could not be enforced against her in the courts.

At the time, Callaghan wanted to expand the UK’s racial discrimination laws, which only prohibited discrimination in public places, so that they also prevented racism in employment or services such as housing.

A key proposal of the bill was the Race Relations Board, which would act as an ombudsman for discrimination complaints and could bring court proceedings against individuals or companies that maintained racist practices.

In February 1968, a Home Office civil servant, TG Weiler, summarised the progress of discussions with Lord Tryon, the keeper of the privy purse, who was responsible for managing the Queen’s private finances, and other courtiers.

Tryon, he wrote, had informed them Buckingham Palace was prepared to comply with the proposed law, but only if it enjoyed similar exemptions to those provided to the diplomatic service, which could reject job applicants who had been resident in the UK for less than five years.

According to Weiler, Tryon considered staff in the Queen’s household to fall into one of three types of roles: “(a) senior posts, which were not filled by advertising or by any overt system of appointment and which would presumably be accepted as outside the scope of the bill; (b) clerical and other office posts, to which it was not, in fact, the practice to appoint coloured immigrants or foreigners; and (c) ordinary domestic posts for which coloured applicants were freely considered, but which would in any event be covered by the proposed general exemption for domestic employment.”

“They were particularly concerned,” Weiler wrote, “that if the proposed legislation applied to the Queen’s household it would for the first time make it legally possible to criticise the household. Many people do so already, but this has to be accepted and is on a different footing from a statutory provision.”

A Home Office official noted that the courtiers “agreed that the way was now open for the secretary of state to seek the Queen’s consent to place her interest at the disposal of parliament for the purpose of the bill”.

The exemption was extended to the present day when in 2010 the Equality Act replaced the 1976 Race Relations Act, the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act and the 1970 Equal Pay Act. For many years, critics have regularly pointed out that the royal household employed few black, Asian or minority-ethnic people.

In 1990 the journalist Andrew Morton reported in the Sunday Times that “a black face has never graced the executive echelons of royal service – the household and officials” and “even among clerical and domestic staff, there is only a handful of recruits from ethnic minorities”.

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: “The royal household and the sovereign comply with the provisions of the Equality Act, in principle and in practice. This is reflected in the diversity, inclusion and dignity at work policies, procedures and practices within the royal household.

“Any complaints that might be raised under the act follow a formal process that provides a means of hearing and remedying any complaint.”

People who cannot immediately be removed would be stripped of benefits – placing them in the No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) category – and have their family reunion rights limited.

In the Queen’s Speech last month, she said that under the New Plan for Immigration legislation, measures would be “brought forward to establish a fairer immigration system that strengthens the United Kingdom’s borders and deters criminals who facilitate dangerous and illegal journeys”.

The plans have been branded “cruel and unfair”, with campaigners arguing that they “slam the door in the face” of people who could be in urgent need of the UK’s protection.

Enver Solomon, chief executive of the Refugee Council, said the plans “undermined” the UK’s “vital commitment” to providing protection to those in need by “unjustly differentiating” between refugees based on how they arrive.

“This is a cruel and unfair approach that slams the door in the face of people who could be in urgent need of our protection,” he added.

Meghan Markle Discusses How the Pandemic Has Disproportionately Impacted Women of Color at Vax Live The Duchess of Sussex also talked about her unborn daughter in a video recorded for the event.

Meghan Markle Discusses How the Pandemic Has Disproportionately Impacted Women of Color at Vax Live
The Duchess of Sussex also talked about her unborn daughter in a video recorded for the event.

Meghan Markle wasn’t able to attend Global Citizen’s Vax Live: The Concert To Reunite The World in person, but she still made sure her voice was heard at the event.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex co-chaired the event, which was organized to raise awareness about the COVID-19 vaccine and encourage people to get vaccinated. While Prince Harry attended the event in-person, Meghan, who is currently very pregnant with the couple’s second child, was not able to join him. Her presence was still very much felt at Vax Live, however, as she recorded a video message for the occasion.

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Meghan wore a gorgeous red shirt dress with a pink poppy flower pattern in the video, which was filmed outdoors in a lovely garden. The duchess wore her hair down in loose curls, pull simply to one side and could be seen protectively cradling her stomach in some moments during the clip.

In her speech, the Meghan discussed the intersection of gender and the pandemic, specifically, how women—and especially women of color—will be disproportionately affected by the pandemic and its related shutdowns, saying:

“The past year has been defined by communities coming together tirelessly and heroically to tackle COVID-19. And we’ve gathered tonight because the road ahead is getting brighter, but it’s going to take every one of us to find our way forward. As campaign chairs of VAX LIVE, my husband and I believe it’s critical that our recovery prioritizes the health, safety and success of everyone, and particularly women who have been disproportionately affected by this pandemic. With the surge in gender based violence, the increased responsibility of unpaid care work, and new obstacles that have reversed so much progress for women in the workplace, we’re at an inflection point for gender equity. Women, and especially women of color, have seen a generation of economic gain wiped out. Since the pandemic began, nearly 5.5 million women have lost work in the U.S., and 47 million more women around the world are expected to slip into extreme poverty. But if we work together to bring vaccines to every country and continent, insist that vaccines are equitably distributed and fairly priced, and ensure that governments around the world are donating their additional vaccines to countries in need, then we can begin to fully rebuild. Not only to restore us to where we were before, but to go further and rapidly advance the conditions, opportunities, and mobilities for women everywhere.

My husband and I are thrilled to soon be welcoming a daughter. It’s a feeling of joy we share with millions of other families around the world. When we think of her, we think of all the young women and girls around the globe who must be given the ability and support to lead us forward. Their future leadership depends on the decisions we make and the actions we take now to set them up, and set all of us up, for a successful, equitable, compassionate tomorrow. Now tonight we’ve had a reminder of things we miss the most, be it live music or sporting events, or just physical contact with family and friends where we can sit together, laugh together, and hug one another. Whatever it is, it all circles back to the same thing: Connecting as a community. For most of us that means our local community. Our loved ones, our neighborhood. But let’s also think about our global community. Across the world, we’ve struggled together. Now we deserve to heal together. We want to make sure that as we recover, we recover stronger. That as we rebuild, we rebuild together. Thank you.”

Prince Harry Says His Biggest Regret Is Not Calling Out Racism Against Meghan Earlier In The Me You Can’t See, the Duke of Sussex opens up about the tabloids’ treatment of his wife.

Just days after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle first went public with their relationship, one MailOnline headline declared “Harry’s Girl Is (Almost) Straight Outta Compton.” While another, on The Daily Star, asked if Harry would “Marry Into Gangster Royalty?” Since then, Markle has been subjected to relentless and often overtly racist coverage by some British tabloids—which the couple told Oprah was a large part of their decision to step back as senior royals and leave the United Kingdom entirely.

While the Duke of Sussex reveals in the new Apple TV+ docuseries The Me You Can’t See that he has “no regrets” about the couple’s move to California, he does feel remorse over the events that led up to it. “My biggest regret is not making more of a stance earlier on in my relationship with my wife and calling out the racism when I did,” he said in the fourth episode of the series that he co-produced with Oprah. “History was repeating itself. My mother was chased to her death while she was in a relationship with someone that wasn’t white.” Like his mother, Princess Diana, Harry added that he and Meghan were often followed and harassed by the paparazzi, which resulted in well-documented invasions of their privacy and triggered painful memories. “It takes me back to what happened with my mum and what I experienced as a kid,” he said. “But it went to a whole new depth with not just traditional media, but also social media platforms as well.”

Even though Harry publicly condemned the tabloids’ treatment of his now wife, he received little support from the royal family: “Every single ask, request, warning, whatever it is, just got met with total silence or total neglect,” Harry recalled, which led to feelings of helplessness—an emotion that he described in a recent interview as his greatest Achilles heel.

Still, the couple spent the first few years of their relationship doing “everything we possibly could to stay there and carry on doing the role.” But in January 2019, the effects of severe media scrutiny became terrifyingly clear. Shortly before they were scheduled to appear at the Royal Albert Hall, Meghan revealed that she was having suicidal thoughts.

“I’m somewhat ashamed with the way that I dealt with it,” Harry admitted in the second episode of The Me You Can’t See. “Because of the system that we were in and the responsibilities and duties that we had, we had a quick cuddle and then we had to get changed…there wasn’t an option to say, ‘Tonight, we’re not going to go, because just imagine the stories that come from that.'” When the lights went down inside the music venue, Meghan, who was six months pregnant at the time, started weeping. “I’m feeling sorry for her, but I’m also really angry with myself that we’re stuck in this situation. I was ashamed that it got this bad,” he said. “I was ashamed to go to my family—because, to be honest with you, like a lot of other people my age can probably relate to, I know that I’m not going to get from my family what I need.”

The impetus to step back from the royal family then grew even stronger in the months following the birth of their son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. “I’d far rather be solely focused on [my son], rather than every time I look in his eyes, wondering whether my wife is going to end up like my mother and I’m going to have to look after him myself,” Harry said. “That was one of the biggest reasons to leave—feeling trapped and feeling controlled through fear, both by the media and by the system itself, which never encouraged the talking about this kind of trauma.”

In fact, he added: “Eventually when I made that decision, for my family, I was still told, ‘You can’t do this.’ And I was like, ‘Well, how bad does it have to get until I am allowed to do this? Where she was going to end her life?’ It shouldn’t have to get to that.”

In July 2020, after spending several months in Canada and Los Angeles, Harry, Meghan, and Archie settled down in Santa Barbara, California. Since then, Harry says he no longer feels controlled by the media—though they’ve still been impacted by the British press. “Before the [Oprah] interview had aired, because of their headlines and that combined effort of the firm and the media to smear her, I was woken up in the middle of the night to [Meghan] crying in her pillow,” he said. “She [didn’t] want to wake me up because I’m already carrying too much. That’s heartbreaking.”

Still, Harry ultimately believes they made the right move for their growing family. “We’ve got a beautiful little boy, who keeps us busy, keeps us running around, and he makes us laugh every day, which is great. We’ve got two dogs and then another little baby girl on the way. I never dreamt that,” he said. “I have no doubt that my mom would be incredibly proud of me. I’m living the life that she wanted to live for herself, living the life that she wanted us to be able to live.”

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