One of the Queen’s most senior aides revealed in the late 1960s it was not the “practice” to employ “coloured immigrants or foreigners” to clerical posts in the royal household, archive documents have shown.
Lord Tryon, the keeper of the privy purse at the time, spoke about minorities in the royal workforce in documents unearthed by the Guardian newspaper.
The paper also outlined how in the late 1960s civil servants and senior figures from Government negotiated with royal aides an exemption for the Queen and the household from legislation designed to prevent race discrimination.A Buckingham Palace spokesman stressed the Queen and the household comply with the present Equality Act “in principle and in practice”, adding: “Claims based on a second-hand account of conversations from over 50 years ago should not be used to draw or infer conclusions about modern-day events or operations.”
A Home Office civil servant, TG Weiler, writing in February 1968 summarised a meeting with Lord Tyron, then the Queen’s most senior financial manager, his deputy and their legal adviser in documents relating to the 1968 Race Relations Act.
The Whitehall official reported the palace aides as suggesting the Queen’s household fell “into three categories (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.”
Mr Weiler went on to say: “They were particularly concerned, however, 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.