Advertisement
Share

British royals back Black Lives Matter, monarch’s representative says

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II visits the set of the long-running soap opera “Coronation Street” in Manchester, England, in July.
(Scott Heppell / Associated Press)

Queen Elizabeth II and the British royal family back the Black Lives Matter movement, one of the monarch’s senior representatives said in a television interview to be broadcast Friday.

Philanthropist Kenneth Olisa, the first Black person to hold the royally bestowed title of Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, told Channel 4 News that he had discussed the issue with members of the royal family after the murder of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis last year. Floyd’s death sparked worldwide protests against racial injustice, including in Britain.

As Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, Olisa is the queen’s personal representative in the region. Asked whether the royal family supported BLM, he said: “The answer is easily yes.”

“I have discussed with the royal household this whole issue of race, particularly in the last 12 months since the George Floyd incident,” he said in excerpts from the interview released before the broadcast. “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.”

Buckingham Palace has for the first time released figures on the ethnic makeup of its staff, amid questions of racism in the royal family.

Advertisement

The comments come as Buckingham Palace struggles to combat suggestions of racism raised by Prince Harry and his wife, the former actor Meghan Markle, during a March interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Meghan, the duchess of Sussex, who is biracial, said an unidentified member of the royal family had raised “concerns” about the color of her baby’s skin before she gave birth to her and Harry’s first child. The couple also said Meghan was the victim of callous treatment during her time as a working royal.

Prince William, Harry’s older brother and the second in line to the throne, was forced to respond after reporters shouted questions at him during a visit to an East London school.

“We’re very much not a racist family,” William said as his wife, Kate, walked by his side.

Harry and Meghan stepped away from royal duties earlier this year and moved to California.


Advertisement