Racism and the Royals

Baroness Hussey’s racist remarks at a Buckingham Palace reception (on 30th November 2022) may have been shocking, but for many of us it has not been a total shock. The monarchy’s record on racism, after all, has not been good:

  • In 1968, although the late queen had been head of the Commonwealth for 16 years, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson reported that it was “not its policy to employ coloured immigrants or foreigners”, other than as domestic servants: it’s not known how long they took to change this policy.
  • Research commissioned by the Guardian last year found that the Monarch’s Consent protocol (which allows the Monarchy to veto Parliamentary discussion of proposals which affect the Monarch’s interests) had been used to exempt the Monarchy from the provisions of race discrimination legislation.
  • In recent years we have had Harry and Megan’s allegations of racism within the royal family.

Labour for a Republic believes that the Monarchy’s exemption from race discrimination legislation must end immediately.

Baroness Sarah Hussey, daughter of a hereditary peer, Earl Waldegrave, served the Queen for 60 years as a Lady-in-Waiting (she was a ‘Woman of the Bedchamber’) and, although Camilla decided to dispense with Ladies-in-Waiting, Sarah Hussey, in spite of her age, was retained as a Lady of the Household.

Instead of having Ladies-in-Waiting, Camilla decided to have ‘Queen’s Companions’ and the appointment of six of them has now been announced. They include a daughter of Baroness Hussey, Lady Katherine Brooke who married a baronet whom the late queen appointed as chair of Ascot.

Here’s what Labour for a Republic’s Chair, Nick Wall had to say:

“All six of the new Queen’s Companions are from aristocratic families. One has been a Conservative whip in the Lords, another is the wife of someone who was a Conservative election candidate before inheriting his peerage, and another is a niece of a former Conservative minister.”

“If the Monarchy really wanted to modernise, it would open itself up to people from all parts of British society. While we have a Monarchy rooted in an out-dated aristocracy, it is not surprising that attitudes from its colonial past still linger within its ranks.”

“Unless the Monarchy immediately announces that it will give up its exemption from anti- discrimination legislation, many will continue to regard it as a racist institution.”