Royal courtier Sir Ken Olisa has been criticised for making political statements on behalf of the Queen after he said Her Majesty supported Black Lives Matter.
Nigel Farage and Tory MP Brendan Clarke-Smith slammed the claims by Her Majesty’s first black Lord-Lieutenant for Greater London.
Mr Farage blasted him for making the political claims while Mr Clarke-Smith said it was wrong for him to try to bring her into the political arena.
Royal experts and commentators also weighed in on the row, saying his comments may have been a ‘misunderstanding’ or taken out of context.
Sir Ken claimed in a TV interview last night the Queen and the Royal Family are supporters of Black Lives Matter and ‘care passionately about making this one nation bound by the same values’ as the anti-racism movement.
He said he discussed the topic of racism with members of the royal household following George Floyd’s murder in the US and the protests which subsequently engulfed western societies.
Asked if Buckingham Palace supports BLM, Sir Ken 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.
‘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.’
Nigel Farage and Tory MP Brendan Clarke-Smith slammed the claims by Her Majesty’s first black Lord-Lieutenant for Greater London (pictured)
Mr Farage blasted him for making the political statements on behalf of the monarch (pictured) while Mr Clarke-Smith said it was wrong for him to try to bring her into the political arena
His comments were jumped on by politicians and commentators, such as Mr Farage: ‘Kenneth Olisa should not be making political statements on behalf of the Queen. BLM is dividing us, not uniting us, and is intended to do so.’
Tory MP Mr Clarke-Smith told MailOnline: ‘As we know, Her Majesty has no official position on political issues and I think it is quite wrong to try to bring either her or the Royal Family into the political arena.
‘Supporting efforts to tackle racism is quite different to expressing overt support for divisive organisations such as BLM and the last thing we need to see at this moment in time is more gossip.
‘Nobody has done more to promote togetherness and pride in our shared values than Her Majesty, particularly as Head of the Commonwealth.’
Toby Young, Editor of the Daily Sceptic, added: ‘This sounds like a misunderstanding based on the confusion around what BLM refers to.
‘Does it refer to the moral cause of anti-racism or the Marxist political group committed to defunding the police, dismantling the nuclear family and ending capitalism?
‘I don’t doubt the Queen supports the cause of anti-racism, but I would be very surprised if she supports the hard left political group.’
Left: Tory MP Mr Clarke-Smith told MailOnline: ‘As we know, Her Majesty has no official position on political issues and I think it is quite wrong to try to bring either her or the Royal Family into the political arena.’ Right: Toby Young, Editor of the Daily Sceptic, added: ‘This sounds like a misunderstanding based on the confusion around what BLM refers to’
Sir Ken made the announcement while being interviewed for a programme for Black To Front, a Channel 4 initiative produced by an all-black presenting and reporting team. His interview will be broadcast at 7pm on Friday.
Buckingham Palace was rocked by allegations of racism after Harry and Meghan’s bombshell interview with Oprah in March, in which they claimed an unnamed royal raised concerns about how dark Archie’s skin tone might be.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex also suggested racism could be a factor behind the decision to deny Archie, the first mixed-race great-grandchild of Her Majesty, security protection or the title of prince.
The Queen later issued a statement saying the issues raised would be dealt with privately, but ‘some recollections may vary’, while William defended the monarchy, saying ‘we’re very much not a racist family’.
But the Sussex’s unofficial biography Finding Freedom claimed they were left dismayed ‘full ownership’ of the race allegations was not taken, with a source noting: ‘Months later and little accountability has been taken.’
Meanwhile royal experts were also confused by Sir Ken’s claims to Channel 4 News. Robert Jobson, author of the bestseller ‘Prince Philips’s Century’, said: ‘It appears this may have got lost in translation.
‘Black Lives Matter is a decentralised political and social movement protesting against incidents of police brutality and all racially motivated violence against black people. The key word here is ‘political’.
‘Whist I am 100 per cent certain that the Queen, as a person and as Head of the Commonwealth, believes that diversity and tolerance strengthens society, I do not believe she supports a political movement or has said she does.
‘She has spoken publicly about how the need of tolerance and mutual respect saying that regardless of gender, race or background, each one of us is special and equal.
‘She has also repeatedly praised the contribution made to national life by people of many faiths and backgrounds and down the centuries.’
He added: ‘Prince Charles too has paid tribute to the contribution black people have made to the UK and the Commonwealth.
‘But I feel the Lord Lieutenant may have misinterpreted a conversation, perhaps, or got the wrong end of the stick when he says Her Majesty supports any political organisation, whether it is BLM or any other political movement.
‘The Queen, after all, by the nature of her position as a constitutional monarch must remain politically neutral as she has for her entire reign. Any Lord Lieutenant of this country knows that.’
Meanwhile royal experts (left, Phil Dampier) were also confused by Sir Ken’s claims to Channel 4 News. Robert Jobson (right), author of the bestseller ‘Prince Philips’s Century’, said: ‘It appears this may have got lost in translation
It comes after Buckingham Palace was rocked by allegations of racism after Harry and Meghan’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey in March this year
Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams said: ‘The context in which The Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, Sir Ken Olisa, talks about racial injustice in a forthcoming television programme, is undoubtedly to stress that the royal family are tremendously supportive of of diversity. One of the aims of BLM is a campaign for racial justice.
‘The issue of race became toxic for the royals after it was raised by Harry and Meghan in their interview on Oprah, which was so highly damaging.
‘This led William to publicly retort ‘We are very much not a racist family’. What is written in the extended Finding Freedom about the royals not taking ‘full ownership’ of the Sussexes allegations, is in an unsourced and trivial book and has no serious relevance.
‘The Queen is not only a symbol of national unity, but famous as a champion of the multi-racial Commonwealth, one of her major achievements has been her nurturing of it and Charles will succeed her as it’s head which was not automatic.
‘His work for interfaith dialogue over many years, should also be mentioned. The Palace has admitted that the percentage of staff from ethnic minorities currently employed is only 8.5 per cent and that that obviously must improve.
‘What Sir Ken is saying ( to judge from the quotes which appear in the press) is that the royals are ‘passionate’ about racial equality and removing barriers in society.
‘This would link with an objective of BLM. BLM has highly controversial political aspects too, but the royal family avoids involvement in political controversy.
‘What Sir Ken is obviously stressing is how important equality and diversity are to the royal family, based on his own experience.’
The book also accused courtiers of lying to the Press over Meghan and Harry’s wishes about Archie being made a prince. Pictured: Archie, Meghan and Harry in Cape Town in 2019
And Royal author Phil Dampier said: ‘The Queen has done more for race relations over the last 70 years or so than anyone else through her work with the Commonwealth.
‘She formed personal relationships with leaders like Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia (who died recently) and she knows much more about the subject than any here today gone tomorrow politician.
‘As Prince William said in response to Harry and Meghan’s Oprah Winfrey interview comments the royal family is definitely NOT racist.
‘Having said that I think it unlikely that the Queen would come out and say she supports Black Lives Matter as an organisation. After all it is a Marxist organisation which wants to get rid of the police.
‘She would support the cause of racial equality and Buckingham Palace is on a recruitment drive to increase the number of people from ethnic minorities working there.
‘But I don’t think the Queen and senior courtiers will be happy with Sir Kenneth saying she is in favour of BLM.
‘He may have spoken to her in recent months and she has talked about the need for harmony and reconciliation, but I very much doubt she told him outright she supported the aims of BLM.
‘She would be in favour of equality but she couldn’t align herself with a political movement, which is what BLM is. I’m sure a lot of soccer fans don’t like players taking the knee when it was originally linked to BLM for that reason.
‘Similarly the Queen would certainly phrase her support in a different way and I think Sir Kenneth is being a bit presumptuous in speaking on her behalf in this way.’
Pictured: The new version of the book, an unauthorised account of Meghan and Harry’s exit from royal life
Buckingham Palace has said it ‘must do more’ and is ‘not where it would like to be’ in terms of diversity, after publishing figures that revealed its proportion of ethnic minority employees stands at just 8.5 per cent.
The Queen’s household also brought in a change to its Diversity Strategy in early 2020 – which pre-dates the Oprah interview – to one that actively emphasises the importance of inclusion.
During the Channel 4 programme, Sir Ken also said the Queen had sought his advice after the Grenfell fire on whether to visit the site of the tragedy.
He said he advised the palace to go, but added: ‘I remember thinking as it all happened, it was quite scary, we didn’t know whether she would be booed or have things thrown at her etc and when she got out of the car all these people applauded.’
Writing for the Mail after the Oprah interview, Sir Ken said: ‘I am the first to concede that although our direction of travel has been so positive, we have a long way to go. And, as Black Lives Matter reminded us, we need to pick up speed.
‘To do that we need to learn to talk about racism – real and perceived. For example, I believe many white business leaders in the UK do nothing to further the cause of racial diversity for the very reason that they are afraid to discuss it, in case they inadvertently cause offence.
‘That is why we must always concentrate on the context and intention of people’s comments before we judge them.
‘We should not feel afraid to address matters of race and skin colour – even if we make blunders – as long as our objective is benign.’
Recently Harry and Meghan apparently asked for a meeting with the Queen to introduce her to their daughter Lilibet, born on June 4.
However, a source told The Sun that no meeting has been agreed upon yet and that it had left aides ‘shocked’ given the pair’s interview with Oprah.
The source told the publication: ‘Harry and Meghan have made this offer but a lot of people are shocked by the sheer nerve of it. They may genuinely want to see the Queen but it’s breath-taking given what they’ve put her through this year.
‘Her Majesty’s staff have not responded so far. In fact there has also been discussion about Christmas – and whether an invitation should be sent to Harry and Meghan, after they spurned one last year.
‘The Queen is still very fond of Harry, and would love to see Lilibet and her brother Archie.’
Meghan plunged the monarchy into crisis after telling Oprah that an unnamed royal had expressed ‘concern’ about Archie’s skin before he was born.
Meghan (centre) plunged the monarchy into crisis after telling Oprah (right) that an unnamed royal had expressed ‘concern’ about Archie’s skin before he was born
The epilogue to the updated edition of Harry and Meghan biography Finding Freedom reveals that a source told authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand that the Sussexes had considered naming the family member – but had ultimately decided not to.
It also claimed that ‘sources close to the Sussexes’ had said that the royal family’s reaction to the allegations made by the couple ‘was not positive’.
The source told the authors that there had to be ‘some acknowledgment’ about what the Sussexes went through for there to be ‘progress’.
The criticism came after a carefully-worded statement from the Queen following the controversial Oprah interview, which expressed concern for the couple but insisted that ‘some recollections may vary’.
In the updated edition, the authors write that the ‘unaddressed’ allegations ‘have continued to threaten the Royal Family’s image around the world’ and ‘could no doubt bring down the monarchy’.
Sources told the authors that William was said to be ‘furious’ after the interview because ‘private family matters were being discussed in the public domain’.
Days later, he firmly told reporters that the royals were ‘very much not a racist family’ but, according to the book, he is ‘unlikely’ to ever comment on the claims again.
The updated book claimed that although emotions within the royal family were still ‘raw’ over the Oprah interview, it quoted a source close to the couple saying the couple’s intervention could ‘force people to talk in order for the healing to begin’.
It also claimed Harry and Meghan felt courtiers were still trying to undermine them after Megxit by leaking information about them, including allegations that Meghan bullied staff.
The book pointed to allegations, which appeared in The Times in March ahead of the Oprah interview, from royal aides claiming Meghan had faced a complaint she bullied staff, driving out two personal assistants and undermining the confidence of a third member.
The duchess denies the claims and Scobie and Durand said the ‘attempt to discredit’ Meghan by those who used to be in the couple’s inner circle ‘served as a reminder’ to the Sussexes that they had made the right decision to leave.
The authors wrote: ‘What has continued to be troubling for the couple, more than a year after their decision, is knowing that courtiers inside the institution are still appearing to actively undermine Harry and Meghan by deliberately leaking information to discredit them.’
The book also accused courtiers of lying to the Press over Meghan and Harry’s wishes about Archie being made a prince. Meghan had suggested to Oprah that senior royals plotted to ensure Archie would never have a title or adequate security.
The book claimed that Palace aides were actually instructed to brief the Press that the couple did not want a title for Archie. It said that in reality, the couple did want the option, ‘given that it would provide their son with a level of security that only comes with a title’.
The authors added: ‘The differential treatment the couple felt had been bestowed upon their son was a major sting to Harry and Meghan.’
But long-standing rules, laid down by George V, mean that the title of HRH passes only to the children of a sovereign and their grandchildren through the male line, meaning Archie will be given a title when his grandfather, Prince Charles, becomes king.
Despite the fallout from Megxit and the couple’s explosive Oprah interview, the book claims that the Sussexes have no regrets.
A friend of Meghan told the authors that she found her interview with Oprah ‘cathartic’. The friend added that all the things she had kept to herself or been ‘too afraid to say’ she felt ‘safe to finally share. It was liberating’.