The Evolution of the Monarchy (or not as the case may be)

Let me state right at the beginning I am not a republican or an anti-royalist and in fact have served Queen and Country very proudly in both the Army and Police Service for over 35 years.However I have some real concerns about the development of the relationship between Monarchy and public. I am pleased to see a more engaging presence from the younger royals and there is no doubt they are making moves in the right direction including marrying “commoners”. (Dont you just hate that expression, harking back to a bygone age of deference and inequality). So this is definitely not an anti-royalist rant and I firmly believe that the good they do in terms of overseas business and prestige is enormous. Whoever the transient incumbents of whatever superpower comes to UK on a state visit you can bet your bottom dollar that the state banquet, if afforded to them is the highlight of the whole trip.

My concerns are the lack of transparency that is afforded to monarchy by the laws to which The Queen gives Royal Assent.I find this position untenable.To explain further.

I noted recently, that august institution “The Queen’s Bodyguard” which is staffed on a voluntary basis by ex-soldiers from the ranks, is all white all male and all of a certain age and has always been so. AnecdotallyI have been told that in order to serve one has to be invited i.e. it is all done by word of mouth and that only recently has it been opened up to ex-soldiers outside of the Household Division.

I then made some enquiries with The Lord Chamberlains office who have the responsibility for staffing the “Bodyguard”. My correspondence with Mr Jonathan Spencer CVO is interesting to say the least.He states in writing that:-

1. The Bodyguard is a military unit and recruitment is handled by the Military Secretary’s Branch in MOD.

2. The Lord Chamberlain’s office conducts final interviews for the posts in the Bodyguard. (therefore has a final say on the ultimate demography of the organisation.)

3. On appointment members of the Bodyguard fill a Royal Household Honorary post.

4. The Royal Household complies with the principles of the Equality Act but is not defined as a public body. This of course means they do not have to comply with the general duties or specific duties of the Act. The duties which apply to all public services and the law to which the Queen has given Royal Assent in the parliament of her people.This includes eliminating unlawful discrimination,advancing equality of opportunity and fostering good relations between different groups.Incidentally this can be effectively achieved by conducting Equality Impact Assessments to ensure these things are happening practically on a day to day basis.

5. It should also be noted that the Lord Chamberlain’s office are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act and so do not have to give details of the demography of any of their staff organisations.

There has never been one Black or Minority Ethnic member of the Bodyguard in it’s entire history since 1485, neither has there ever been a female member and there has certainly never been a female black member of the Bodyguard. Anecdotally since I have raised these questions with the Lord Chamberlain’s office the “unofficial” website now has the recruitment criteria displayed on it’s home page.Interesting?

It is clear from my anecdotal evidence that there is no positive move to recruit either women or people from a Black and Minority Ethnic background.In this day and age this is a disgrace and clearly is not congruent with the law of our country. It is time to end this discrimination now and the only person who can end it is our Sovereign.

Incidentally I wrote to Her Royal Highness The Queen about this subject on 10th August 2011 – To date there has been no reply. 

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