Buckingham Palace has published its employee diversity statistics, admitting it ‘must do more’ following racism allegations

Buckingham Palace has publicly revealed its diversity statistics for the first time

Exterior view of Buckingham Palace as it releases its diversity statistics for the first time
(Image credit: Getty)

Statistics published for the first time reveal that less than 10% of royal household employees are from ethnically diverse backgrounds. 

The royal family has been under increased scrutiny regarding the diversity of their staff in the wake of the racism allegations made by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during their bombshell Oprah interview back in March. 

And now, for the first time, the palace has revealed that some 8.5% of its staff are from ethnically diverse backgrounds. This compares with around 13% of the UK population, according to the latest 2011 census.

“We haven’t made the progress that we would like, and we can do better," a senior palace source told PA in the wake of the findings, which were published in the palace's annual Sovereign Grant report for 2020 to 2021

The Queen’s Treasurer Sir Michael Stevens confirmed to the press that the palace plans to increase this number to 10% by 2022. Notably, the report does not specify representation by position or pay scale.

"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," the senior palace source, speaking with the condition of anonymity, told PA. 

They added that Buckingham Palace chose to publish the figures so that there would be "no place to hide", as they strive for a more diverse workforce in the future. 

"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 source said. 

The royal family was forced to defend themselves against allegations of racism earlier this year—with Prince William telling reporters, "we are very much not a racist family" in the wake of Meghan's shocking Oprah revelations. 

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Detailing her own experience of racial discrimination both in the press and within the institution itself, Meghan recounted a shocking conversation during which she was asked how dark her son Archie's skin would be before he was born.

She also recalled how Archie would not be given a title, and therefore would not be eligible for security.

The landmark interview prompted a carefully worded statement from the Queen, which said, “The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately."

The royal household’s report added how the diversity strategy at Buckingham Palace has changed to "emphasize the importance of inclusion". 

It's unclear what exact steps the palace will take to improve the diversity of its workforce, though some reports say they are considering appointing a 'diversity chief'.

Kate McCusker

Kate is a freelance contributor to woman&home, covering everything she loves most: fashion, fiction, and fancy face cream. If she’s not working, she’s probably reading, feeding her online shopping addiction, or judging the taste level of celebrity houses (10/10 for Dakota Johnson, 2/10 for Tan France).

She graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2020 with a BA in fashion journalism, and her byline has also appeared in British VogueThe Times, and Marie Claire.