Another racial charge was leveled against the British royal family on Wednesday.
After a black charity leader revealed a racist exchange that occurred at a reception hosted by the Queen consort, Camilla, on Tuesday at the palace, Lady Susan Hussey, 83, a longtime confidante of Queen Elizabeth II and the godmother of the Prince of Wales, Prince William, has resigned from her Buckingham Palace duties.
Ngozi Fulani, the CEO of Sistah Space, a London-based organization that supports women of African and Caribbean descent who have experienced abuse, tweeted a paraphrased transcript of the conversation. The tweet has received over 34,000 likes and 12,000 retweets since it was posted early on Nov. 30 that day.
Despite being born and raised in England, Fulani claimed Hussey continually questioned where she was from and uninvitedly caressed her hair.
Hussey allegedly questioned the Fulani, "What region of Africa are you from?" Hussey continued despite Fulani's claim that her family doesn't maintain those kinds of records. Following are a few quotes from that conversation that Fulani tweeted:
SH: Well, you must know where you’re from; I spent time in France. Where are you from?
Me: Hello, UK.
SH: No, but what nationality are you?
Me: I was born here and am British.
SH: No, but where do you come from? Where do your people come from?
Fulani admitted to the Independent that she had been afraid to talk about the experience at first. “I was in a position where I wanted to speak up, but doing so would inevitably be seen as my fault and bring Sistah Space down,” she added."Oh, she has a chip on her shoulder," would be the response.
Hussey's remarks were described as "very disappointing" and "inappropriate" by a Kensington Palace representative for the Prince of Wales, who added that it was "proper that the individual has stepped away with immediate effect." Hussey was Queen Elizabeth II's lady-in-waiting for more than 60 years before King Charles gave her the honorary title of "Lady of the Household."
A representative for Buckingham Palace told CNN that Hussey "would like to offer her heartfelt regrets for the sorrow caused and has stood up from her honorary status with immediate effect" in a statement on her behalf. A spokesman for the company added, "We have contacted Ngozi Fulani regarding this subject and are inviting her to discuss all aspects of her experience in person if she desires."
The incident happened at a gathering where the Queen Consort addressed roughly 300 people and denounced the "global pandemic of violence against women."
On the same day, former British counterterrorism chief Neil Basu, who was in charge of overseeing royal safety, described the "disgusting and very serious" threats that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had faced as a result of their inter-racial union. Basu claimed that he often has teams looking into threats made against her life by far-right extremists in an interview with Britain's Channel 4 television.
Markle has experienced this type of abuse and cyberbullying since she started dating Prince Harry in 2016. In a shocking interview with media mogul Oprah Winfrey in March 2021, the pair discussed racism in the royal family. An anonymous member of the royal family expressed anxiety about how dark their first son Archie's skin tone might be, according to Markle, who identifies as biracial.
The palace released a statement in which it referred to the issues brought up in the interview as "concerning," added that it was taking them "extremely seriously," and stated that the family would deal with them "privately."
In interviews after the event on Nov. 29, Fulani expressed his desire for anti-racism training for those in royal positions and for the palace to seize the chance for a teachable moment. According to the British news station LBC, she said, "I'd be glad to talk with anybody to bring about a constructive end" and to ensure "this kind of thing does not happen again."