Lady Susan Hussey, Queen Camilla’s former right-hand woman and Prince William’s godmother, caused quite a stir last night at the queen consort’s Violence Against Women and Girls reception—and now, the royal family is apologizing for her actions.
Ngozi Fulani, the director of the east London charity Sistah Space, who attended the Buckingham Palace event as Camilla’s guest, revealed late last night the troubling conversation she had with Lady Susan, 83, upon meeting.
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“Mixed feelings about yesterday’s visit to Buckingham Palace. 10 mins after arriving, a member of staff, Lady SH, approached me, moved my hair to see my name badge. The conversation below took place. The rest of the event is a blur,” Ngozi wrote on Twitter, adding the alleged transcription of how the talk went.
Essentially, Ngozi said “Lady SH” repeatedly and aggressively asked her where she was from, because she’s Black, refusing to accept the fact that she is British and was born in the United Kingdom.
“No, but where do you really come from, where do your people come from?” Lady Susan reportedly said. “What part of Africa are you from?”
Ngozi reflected, “It was such a shock to me and the other two women that we were stunned to temporary silence. I just stood at the edge of the room, smiled and engaged briefly with who spoke to me until I could leave.”
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Following Ngozi’s tweet, Buckingham Palace released a statement, obtained by BAZAAR.com, apologizing for the incident.
“We take this incident extremely seriously and have investigated immediately to establish the full details. In this instance, unacceptable and deeply regrettable comments have been made. We have reached out to Ngozi Fulani on this matter, and are inviting her to discuss all elements of her experience in person if she wishes,” a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said.
Though they did not name Lady Susan in the statement, a royal source confirmed to The Mirror that the former senior staff member resigned today from her role as Camilla’s top queen’s companion. A spokesperson for the Wales’s confirmed in a statement shared with BAZAAR.com that the staffer responsible for the racist incident is no longer at the Palace.
“In the meantime, the individual concerned would like to express her profound apologies for the hurt caused and has stepped aside from her honorary role with immediate effect,” the palace continued. “All members of the Household are being reminded of the diversity and inclusivity policies which they are required to uphold at all times.”
Prince William and Princess Catherine’s spokesperson, who is with the couple in Boston ahead of their first day of engagements for their Earthshot Prize ceremony, also addressed the incident.
“Finally, I want to address the story relating to a guest attending a reception at Buckingham Palace last night,” the spokesman told reporters today. “This is a matter for Buckingham Palace, but as the Prince of Wales spokesperson, I appreciate you’re all here and understand you’ll want to ask about it. So let me address it head on. I was really disappointed to hear about the guests’ experience at Buckingham Palace last night. Obviously, I wasn’t there, but racism has no place in our society. The comments were unacceptable, and it is right that the individual has stepped aside with immediate effect.”
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This is sadly not the only accusation of racism among the royal family and staff that has ever been reported. Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan famously alluded to various incidents of racism directed toward their son, Archie, in their tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey last year.
This article originally appeared in Harper’s BAZAAR US.