The fallout from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s stunningly revealing interview with Oprah Winfrey continues weeks later, forcing the Royal Family to reconcile with the public’s heightened wariness of the establishment. In a surprising (and strange) move, the Firm is taking a new method to approaching the claims of racism within its institution: diversity training.
In Meghan and Harry’s tell-all, the couple shared a number of disturbing bombshells about their time as official members of the Royal Family; from the conversation, we learned that Meghan had suffered from severe mental health issues, that Harry was cut off, and that their son Archie had been subjected to thinly-veiled racism even before he was born. The Firm’s general response to the allegations made in the interview was lackluster to say the least, but out of all of the claims, the discussion about racism within the family was the most "concerning" for them. Prince William even made it a point to assure the world that his family was “very not racist."
However, weeks after the interview aired, Buckingham Palace just unintentionally confirmed that there were in fact some internal issues connected to inclusivity going on behind the scenes. A new report from The Guardian claims that the Royal Family is actively looking into diversity training, specifically by hiring a “diversity tsar” to “modernize the monarchy.” The possible new hire is the result of an internal review of royal policies, which the Firm found to be especially lacking when it came to diversity.
If you’re wondering what a tsar is and are linking it to the famous Russian emperors of the past, you’re getting colder, not warmer. In modern times, a tsar is someone who is appointed by government to advise on and coordinate policy in a particular area. In this situation, that would be a person hired to teach people within the Firm how to not be racist. That tsar would also be responsible for sharing techniques on how to be allies of other marginalized groups, including LGBTQ+ and differently-abled communities, helping those in the family and on staff to "listen and learn." Because after the year we've had, we all know how helpful listening and learning is.
“This is an issue which has been taken very seriously across the royal households,” a royal source told The Guardian. “We have the policies, the procedures and programmes in place but we haven’t seen the progress we would like and accept more needs to be done, we can always improve."
“Therefore we are not afraid to look at new ways of approaching it,” the source continued. “The work to do this has been under way for some time now and comes with the full support of the family.”
But wait. I thought that William said that his family and the institution weren't racist; the 61-word statement released by the Firm even intimated that the Sussexes' recollection of events weren't technically accurate. So why would you need diversity training if things didn't go down exactly the way that Meghan and Harry claimed? Beyond that, the push for diversity and representation seems too little, too late. Meghan made history as one of the first women of colour within the British Royal Family, and the years that followed were traumatic and stressful for her, her husband, and their child. Belatedly hiring a diversity expert to change the protocol after she's already left the establishment seems unproductive, especially without a public apology or basic acknowledgment of the abuse that the former duchess suffered.
It feels a little black box-ish to me, but who knows? Maybe the tsar can actually change the centuries-old system for the better.