Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family back the Black Lives Matter movement, one of her senior representatives said in a television interview.
Philanthropist Kenneth Olisa, the first Black Lord Lieutenant of Greater London, told Channel 4 News that he had discussed the issue with members of the royal family since George Floyd died in police custody in the United States last year, sparking global protests over racial injustice.
Asked if they supported the movement, the philanthropist and businessman who is the monarch’s personal representative in Greater London 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,” he said in excerpts from the interview released before the broadcast. “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.”
Black Lives Matter UK has expressed surprise
The UK branch of Black Lives Matter expressed its surprise, but added that actions speak louder than words
A spokesperson for BLM UK, told the the Guardian: “We were surprised to learn the Queen is a BLM supporter. But we welcome anyone that agrees with our goal of dismantling white supremacy. Of course, actions speak louder than words. The Queen sits on a throne made from colonial plunder. Until she gives back all the stolen gold and diamonds from the Commonwealth and pays reparations, these are nothing more than warm words.”
BLM is a decentralized political and social movement protesting against incidents of police brutality and all racially motivated violence against black people.
The movement began in July 2013, with the use of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin 17 months earlier in February 2012. The movement became nationally recognized for street demonstrations following the 2014 deaths of two African Americans, that of Michael Brown—resulting in protests and unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, a city near St. Louis—and Eric Garner in New York City.
The movement returned to national headlines and gained further international attention during the global George Floyd protests in 2020 following his murder by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. An estimated 15 million to 26 million people participated in the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests in the United States, making it one of the largest movements in the country’s history.
The comments by Olisa come as Buckingham Palace struggles to combat suggestions of racism raised by Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan during a March interview with Oprah Winfrey.
In the Winfrey interview, Meghan said an unnamed royal – not the Queen or Duke of Edinburgh – raised concerns with Harry before the birth of their son, Archie, about how dark their son Archie’s skin tone might be.
The couple also suggested racism could have been a factor behind the decision to deny Archie security protection and the title of prince.
The Queen later issued a statement saying that the issues raised would be dealt with privately but that “some recollections may vary.” The Duke of Cambridge said: “We’re very much not a racist family.”