The British royal family is said to have pursued a racist and sexist staff policy until at least the late 1960s. For example, “immigrants of color or foreigners” were prohibited from serving in managerial positions. This is clear from the documents that Watchman I can see.
The documents were discovered in the National Archives as part of an ongoing investigation into the use of a secret parliamentary procedure known as the “Queen’s Consent”. With this ambiguous mechanism, the king granted or denied permission to Parliament to debate laws affecting them and their own interests. Buckingham Palace is said to have negotiated provisions to exempt the Queen and her family from laws prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of race and gender.
In 1968 the then Home Secretary, James Callahan, wanted to expand UK legislation on racial discrimination. In addition to banning discrimination in public places, racism at work or in services such as housing will also be prohibited. However, the Racial Equality Act could not be debated in Parliament unless the Queen was assured of her exemption.
For more than four decades, the exemption has made it impossible for women or ethnic minorities from their home to file a complaint in court if they believe they have been victims of discrimination. In a statement, Buckingham Palace does not dispute that the Queen is exempt from the laws. But the palace is said to have a separate procedure for dealing with complaints of discrimination, without revealing further details.
It is unclear when the policy ended. Buckingham Palace says people from ethnic minorities were definitely recruited in the 1990s. In previous years, no data on the racial background of employees was kept.
This revelation sheds new light on past criticisms of the British royal family. Meghan Markle, the wife of Prince Harry, said in March that a member of the royal family had expressed concern about the color of her baby’s skin.
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