Categories
World

Buckingham Palace admits the royal household is not diverse enough

Buckingham Palace admitted the royal household is not diverse enough, as it released its annual financial report.

The Sovereign Grant report disclosed for the first time that the proportion of ethnic minority employees within the royal household is 8.5% with a target of 10% by the end of 2022.

According to a 2011 census, 14% of the population of England and Wales is non-White. In Scotland, 4% are non-White.




The yearly financial statement also revealed the royal household has continued to work on improving its diversity strategy, which existed before the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s allegations of racism within the royal family earlier this year.

In their March interview with Oprah Winfrey, Harry and Meghan said there had been “concerns and conversations” over the color of Archie’s skin before he was born.

In the wake of the Sussexes’ revelations, Buckingham Palace issued a statement on behalf of the Queen describing the claims as “concerning,” adding that “they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.”



While Harry and Meghan’s remarks addressed issues of diversity within the family, the new financial report deals only with royal staff.

The annual financial statement does not mention the ongoing review into historical bullying accusations leveled at Meghan. The Palace hired an external law firm earlier this year to probe the allegations.

SOVEREIGN GRANT

The Sovereign Grant is essentially the Queen’s expense account for royal activities from the government, covering costs of travel, staff and palace upkeep. It also includes a specific amount set aside to cover a ten-year refurbishment of Buckingham Palace that includes updating the property’s electrical wiring, pipework, boilers and generators.

The grant is funded by profits of the Crown Estate, a real estate company that boasts a sprawling collection of farmlands and prime central London property. Most of its earnings go into government coffers, but 25% is paid back out to the Queen from the UK Treasury in the form of the lump sum each year. For 2020-21 it amounted to $119.9 million.

The royal household’s net expenditure for the same period was $122.1 million, a 26% increase on the previous year.

Despite the pandemic, the royal family undertook nearly 1,470 official engagements across the United Kingdom and overseas, according to the financial statement. That’s almost half of the 3,000 odd engagements each year.

With royal properties like Buckingham and Windsor palaces shut due to lockdown and lower visitor turnout the family lost $25.1 million in incomes.

The report also confirmed the Sussexes have paid $3.3 million back to the Sovereign Grant to cover the costs of the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, their official residence when in the UK.




Other details from the financial statement included the cost of Prince Charles’ trip to Kuwait following the death of the country’s ruler in October cost around $82,300, while William and Kate’s two-day UK train tour during the pandemic cost $67,000.