Buckingham Palace has admitted that it needs to take action to increase the diversity of the royal staff. The acknowledgment comes as a report reveals that only 8.5% of palace staff identify as ethnic minorities.
The Royal Household on Thursday published its annual financial statement, the Sovereign Grant Report, which details the funds used for the official duties of Queen Elizabeth II and maintenance of the royal palaces. The total for 2020-2021 amounted to nearly $120 million.
Buried within the report was a new revelation: 8.5% of the palace’s staff come from an ethnic minority background. Thursday’s report marks the first time the palace has disclosed its diversity numbers.
In response, the palace said it “must do more.” It set a goal to raise that percentage to 10% in 2022.
The palace told CBS News partner BBC News that it is “not where it would like to be” on staff diversity, and explained that it published the figures so there could be “no place to hide” if it fails to make progress on its goal.
“It is not that we have not been progressing diversity and inclusion initiatives during this period, it is that simply the results have not been what we would like,” a palace source told BBC News. “Her Majesty and other members of the Royal Family have actively promoted and embraced the diversity of our nation and that of the Commonwealth, and we take our lead from that.”
The report comes on the heels of Oprah’s March interview with Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, during which the couple alleged racism within the royal family. They said that one family member had questioned the color their son Archie’s skin would be before he was born; Prince Harry later clarified it was not the queen or Prince Philip who made those comments.
In a statement issued by the palace following the interview, the queen said her family was “saddened” to hear “how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan.” Prince William also told journalists that the royals are “very much not a racist family.”
The palace also revealed at the time that it was considering hiring a formal “diversity chief,” but that it had not yet made a decision.