Story at a glance

  • The United Kingdom has a history of slavery and colonization that deeply embedded systemetic racism into the fabric of its society and government.
  • New documents reveal the racist policies upheld by the Queen of England until the 1960s, despite existing laws.
  • “Coloured immigrants or foreigners” were banned from serving in clerical roles at Buckingham Palace for many years, reported The Guardian.

Until the 1960s, Buckingham Palace did not allow “coloured immigrants or foreigners” to serve in clerical roles, according to resurfaced documents at the U.K.'s National Archives, negotiating exemptions from anti-discrimination laws for the Queen and her household. 

The Queen’s chief financial manager reportedly told civil servants that “it was not, in fact, the practice to appoint coloured immigrants or foreigners” to clerical roles in the royal household, although they were permitted to work as domestic servants, reported The Guardian. The outlet is investigating the royal family's use of "Queen's consent," a parliamentary procedure that allows the monarch to influence British laws. 


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Buckingham Palace did not answer questions about the ban, The Guardian reported, but said records on employees' races were not kept before the 1990s, at which point people from ethnic minorities were employed at the palace. The documents highlight the past racism of the crown and a legacy of discrimination that reportedly continues until this day.

In March, Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, spoke to Oprah about the racism that played a role in their departure from the royal family. Among other devastating allegations against the royal family and its advisors, Meghan — who is biracial — said a member of the royal family expressed concern to Harry about the skin tone of their first child, Archie, before his birth.

The former colonial power is also reckoning with systemic racism following the reverberations of the Black Lives Matter movement around the world. Last month, a Black Lives Matter activist was shot in the head near London after reportedly receiving "numerous death threats," although it's not clear whether she was an intentional victim.


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Published on Jun 03, 2021