Lady Susan Hussey, an aide to King Charles and godmother of Prince William, has stepped down after racist comments she made to a Black palace guest went viral.
Ngozi Fulani is founder of the charity Sistah Space, which supports women of African and Caribbean descent in the UK who are survivors of domestic and sexual abuse. Fulani said the racist incident happened Tuesday during a reception at Buckingham Palace on gender-based violence.
Fulani, who is British, posted a word-for-word account of the exchange on Twitter and said a member of the royal staff touched her hair and asked her “Where are you from?” “No, where do you really come from?” “What part of Africa are you from?”
She captioned the post: “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,” Fulani wrote. “The conversation below took place. The rest of the event is a blur. Thanks @ManduReid & @SuzanneEJacob for support.”
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.
Thanks @ManduReid & @SuzanneEJacob for support?? pic.twitter.com/OUbQKlabyq
— Sistah Space (@Sistah_Space) November 30, 2022
A witness to the incident told the BBC that Hussey’s questions were “offensive, racist and unwelcoming.”
As the controversy escalated, Hussey — who was King Charles’ lady of the household — apologized and stepped down from her position.
Buckingham Palace issued a statement Wednesday and called Hussey’s comments “unacceptable.”
“We take this incident extremely seriously and have investigated immediately to establish the full details,” the statement said “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.”
“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 statement continued. “All members of the household are being reminded of the diversity and inclusivity policies which they are required to uphold at all times.”
Hussey, 83, has deep ties to the royal family and was a lady-in-waiting to the late Queen Elizabeth II.
Over the summer, an explosive book titled Revenge: Meghan, Harry and the war between the Windsors alleged Hussey previously said Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s marriage will “end in tears.”
This latest incident comes after Markle said in an interview last year with Oprah Winfrey that she encountered racism while living as a royal in the U.K., and alleged there were concerns among the royals that her unborn son would be darker than the rest of the family. She told Winfrey unidentified members of the royal family shared “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born.”