Kate Mansey, Daily Mail, March 20, 2021
The Queen is to appoint a diversity tsar to modernise the Monarchy, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Sources say the proposed move is an acknowledgment that ‘more needs to be done’ to champion minorities’ rights and follows the explosive claims made by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex of institutional racism.
As part of a major drive encompassing Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Kensington Palace, aides will undertake a ‘listen and learn’ exercise over the coming weeks which will involve speaking to a range of businesses and individuals about how the Monarchy can improve representation.
Plans seen by this newspaper detail how the Palace will ‘seek independent views’ to help assess and improve the approach to diversity – including ethnic minorities, the disabled and the gay and trans communities.
The potential recruitment of a diversity chief to champion reform is also set out.
A Royal source said: ‘This is an issue which has been taken very seriously across the Households.
‘We have the policies, procedures and programmes in place but we haven’t seen the progress we would like and accept more needs to be done. We can always improve.
‘We are not afraid to look at new ways of approaching it. The work to do this has been under way for some time now and comes with the full support of the family.’
The project has been given fresh impetus as Harry and Meghan appear to step up their battle with the Royal Family over racism.
In their interview with Oprah Winfrey, they claimed a family member asked how dark their son Archie’s skin might be – although their accounts differed as to whether the alleged comment was made before or during pregnancy.
Ms Winfrey responded: ‘Because they were concerned that if he were too brown, that that would be a problem? Are you saying that?’
Meghan replied: ‘I wasn’t able to follow up with why, but if that’s the assumption you’re making, I think that feels like a pretty safe one.’
Prince Harry said racism had been a major factor in the couple’s decision to move to California.
In a statement two days after the initial broadcast on the US TV network CBS, Buckingham Palace insisted it took the couple’s claims – particularly on race – ‘very seriously’, but pointedly added that ‘recollections may vary’, suggesting some allegations are disputed.
Prince William said later: ‘We are very much not a racist family.’ But The Mail on Sunday understands the issue of racism continues to sour the relationship between Harry, his father and his brother – and was the reason Gayle King, a US chat-show host and friend of Harry and Meghan, last week described recent phone calls between them as ‘not productive’.
It is understood that the Sussexes feel that while disputed allegations of bullying made against Meghan are the subject of an independent review ordered by the Palace, the claims of racism aren’t under formal investigation.
In an intervention criticised for reigniting the furore, Miss King last week said the Duchess has ‘documents to back up everything she said’, adding: ‘It’s frustrating for them to see that it’s a racial conversation about the Royal Family when all they wanted all along was for the Royals to intervene and tell the Press to stop with the unfair, inaccurate, false stories that definitely have a racial slant.’
Palace insiders emphasise the Royal Family’s strong track record of celebrating diversity, particularly through their support of hundreds of charities in Britain and throughout the Commonwealth.
Prince Charles has even faced criticism for championing diversity.
In 1994, there were critical headlines after he said he wanted to be ‘Defender of Faith’ rather than ‘Defender of the Faith’ when he ascends the throne and becomes head of the Church of England.
Prince William has repeatedly spoken out against racism, backing high-profile campaigns including those run by the FA.