Queen Elizabeth supports Black Lives Matter and 'cares passionately'

The Lord-Lieutenant for London says he discussed racism with the head of the royal family

(FILES) In this file photo taken on April 21, 2019, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II waves from her car after attending the Easter Mattins Service at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. Queen Elizabeth II will retire to Windsor Castle a week early and a state visit by the emperor and empress of Japan is being reviewed due to coronavirus, Buckingham Palace said Tuesday, March 17. The 93-year-old monarch has already postponed some public engagements, and further changes are now being made to her diary in the wake of stricter measures introduced by the British government.
 / AFP / POOL / KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH

Queen Elizabeth II and the British royal family are supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement, according to one of the British monarch's representatives.

Sir Ken Olisa, the first black lord-lieutenant for London, said the royals “care passionately” about helping to shape modern Britain into an equal and fair society.

Speaking to Channel 4, he said he had discussed the topic of racism with members of the royal household in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in the United States in May 2020.

In the interview, he said: “I have discussed with the royal household this whole issue of race, particularly in the last 12 months since the George Floyd incident.

“It’s a hot conversation topic. The question is what more can we do to bind society to remove these barriers.

“They [the royals] care passionately about making this one nation bound by the same values.”

Asked if the palace support BLM, Sir Ken said: “The answer is easily yes.”

He also touched on the Grenfell tragedy, saying the monarch had sought his advice after the devastating tower block fire in west London in June 2017 that left 74 people dead.

He said the queen had asked him whether she should visit the charred remains of the 24-storey building.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 18, 2018 Britain's Prince Harry and his fiancée US actress Meghan Markle watch a dance performance by Jukebox Collective during a visit at Cardiff Castle in Cardiff, south Wales on January 18, 2018, for a day showcasing the rich culture and heritage of Wales. Meghan Markle once struggled for roles but the US actress has now landed the biggest part of all as she prepares to marry Prince Harry on May 19, 2018 and become the newest face in Britain's royal family. / AFP / POOL / Ben Birchall

He advised the palace to go, but said: “I remember thinking as it all happened, it was quite scary, we didn’t know whether she would be booed or have things thrown at her, etc, and when she got out of the car all these people applauded.”

The programme, titled Black To Front, is scheduled for broadcast on Friday at 7pm and was produced by an all-black presenting and reporting team.

His comments on the issue of racism come after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, accused an unnamed member of the royal family of making racist remarks about their unborn son Archie.

The accusation caused a furore after the programme was broadcast and Harry followed up by saying the comments had not been made by the queen or the Duke of Edinburgh.

The couple claimed the royal had raised concerns about how dark Archie’s skin tone might be.

The couple also suggested racism could be a factor behind the decision to deny Archie, the first mixed-race great-grandchild of the queen, security protection or the title of prince.

The queen later issued a statement saying that the issues raised would be dealt with privately as a family, but that “some recollections may vary”, while the Duke of Cambridge defended the monarchy, saying “we’re very much not a racist family” soon after the interview aired.

Buckingham Palace also admitted that it “must do more” and is “not where it would like to be” in terms of diversity, after publishing figures that revealed its proportion of ethnic minority employees is 8.5 per cent, with a target of 10 per cent for 2022.

The queen’s household brought in a change to its diversity strategy in early 2020 – which pre-dates the Winfrey interview – to one that actively emphasises the importance of inclusion.

Updated: September 10th 2021, 9:34 AM
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