From the football field to Buckingham Palace, the race count was felt across Britain after the death of George Floyd.
Amid sports star abuse on social media and bombshell interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Queen Elizabeth II has remained largely silent on the issue that has gripped the country – and her family.
But now a senior palace assistant has said the Queen and other royals support the Black Lives Matter movement.
Download the. down NBC news app for breaking news and politics
Kenneth Olisa, the first Black Lord lieutenant from London, told UK Channel 4 that race had become a “hot topic of conversation” in the royal family, especially after Floyd’s death.
“The question is, what else can we do to get society to remove these barriers? she [The royals] are passionate about binding this one nation through the same values, ”said Olisa in an interview broadcast on Friday.
In one Preview clip released before full interview, Olisa was asked if the royal family supported BLM. “The answer is easily yes.” he said.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman told NBC News that they had nothing to add to the comments.
Olisa’s remarks come five months after Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, suggested that the breed was the focus of their royal feud.
The couple told Oprah that a royal insider had “concerns” about how dark their children’s skin might be. They declined to name the person, but Winfrey later said that Harry had made it clear that it was neither the Queen, his grandmother, nor her husband, Prince Philip.
Buckingham Palace then issued a statement on the interview, saying the family were “sad” to learn the magnitude of the challenges the couple are facing.
“The issues raised, particularly those of race, are worrying,” the statement said, adding that the family would address them privately.
Prince William denied in public comments days later that the royals were racist.
NBC News has reached out to a Sussexes spokesman for comment.
The saga picked up on a debate that has continued to rock the UK in the months since, with support for Black Lives Matter at times becoming a dividing point in the country’s culture wars.
With this in mind, not everyone welcomed Friday’s royal intervention.
Momodou Taal, host of The Malcolm Effect podcast, which focuses on race and identity, told NBC News that this was clearly a response to Meghan and Harry’s allegations against the family.
“It is no surprise that the family is being charged with racism. It is the remnant of a brutal British empire that has never really recognized its role in spreading racism around the world,” Taal said. “As much damage control as they are trying because for me and many people we still see in the lens the family that Harry and Meghan aimed at them.”
Taal said there had been an attempt to “modernize” the family’s image since Floyd’s death.
“They (the family) do not represent modern Britain,” he said, “they represent what Britain was at the height of colonization, and that image will stick to them forever.”
Author and activist Shola Mos-Shogbamimu also criticized the Queen’s apparently new public stance.
“If Queen supports Black Lives, where is her outrage over institutional racism / injustice in the UK, racism against Meghan Markle, royal family legacy in slavery / colonialism etc?” wrote on Twitter. “Complete silence from her during the Black Lives Matter protests.”
Nigel Farage, the former Brexit leader and now host of a show on right-wing television, criticized Olisa for “making political statements on behalf of the Queen”.
“BLM divides us, does not unite us and is meant to be,” he wrote.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been accused of fueling divisions on the issue when he initially refused to condemn fans who whistled English footballers for kneeling ahead of the pre-Euro 2020 games this summer.
Members of his ruling Conservative Party said they are boycotting games over the protest and what they consider “dire motives” for Black Lives Matter.
When asked on Friday whether Johnson shared the Queen’s support for BLM, a spokesman declined to respond directly.
“He has always stood up for the right of people to protest and express their feelings about injustice,” said the spokesman, according to British media.