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Dhaka Tribune

British queen hires first ever black assistant

Update : 09 Jul 2017, 09:06 PM

A new personal assistant selected by the Queen Elizabeth is to become the first black equerry in British history.

Major Nana Kofi Twumasi-Ankrah, a Ghanaian-born officer who fought in the Afghanistan war, will fill one of the most important roles in the royal household, The Times reports.

As an equerry, Major Twumasi-Ankrah will act as one of the queen’s most-trusted attendants, assisting her with official engagements and welcoming high profile guests to royal residences.

Historically, the role was created for someone to look after the cavalry’s horses, but in modern times an equerry is expected to be publicly visible as an aide at the queen’s side.

The appointment is said to be especially important now the Duke of Edinburgh is set to retire from public life this year.

Major Ankrah, 38, moved to the UK from Ghana with his parents in 1982. He studied at Queen Mary University in London and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

Buckingham Palace has been accused of racial discrimination in the past.

In 2001, Elizabeth Burgess, a former personal secretary to Prince Charles, brought forward a claim for constructive dismissal, alleging she had been subject to discrimination by other members of staff.

She told a tribunal the household at Highgrove estate “wanted a white face”, adding: “There were always black jokes and names going round because it is the royal family and it is still very protected.”

The claims were dismissed by the prince’s solicitor as “outrageous” and Burgess lost her claim.

Staff policy published by Buckingham Palace states: “The household aims to employ the best people from the widest available pool of talent ... irrespective of gender, race, ethnic or national origin.”

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