A longstanding lady-in-waiting to the late Queen Elizabeth apologized after she was accused of asking racially-charged questions to a guest who attended a Buckingham Palace reception to combat violence against women.
Buckingham Palace announced on Friday that Lady Susan Hussey met with Ngozi Fulani, the founder of the charity Sistah Space, “to address the incident that took place at a Palace reception last month.”
“At this meeting, filled with warmth and understanding, Lady Susan offered her sincere apologies for the comments that were made and the distress they caused to Ms Fulani,” the palace said in the statement. “Lady Susan has pledged to deepen her awareness of the sensitivities involved and is grateful for the opportunity to learn more about the issues in this area.”
They continued, “Ms Fulani, who has unfairly received the most appalling torrent of abuse on social media and elsewhere, has accepted this apology and appreciates that no malice was intended.”
Fulani said she was repeatedly asked racially-loaded questions about her heritage and background by a palace aide at the reception, which was hosted by Queen Camilla, at the November event. Outlining the full conversation on Twitter, Fulani, who was born in Britain, claimed she was asked questions like “what nationality are you?” “where do you really come from?” “where do your people come from?” and “what part of Africa are you from?”
Fulani didn’t initially name Lady Susan, who is a godmother to Prince William and was made a Lady of the Household by King Charles before the incident. “Yes the person was offensive, but it serves no purpose to name & shame her, it would make us just as bad. We prefer that this be handled kindly,” said a post on the Sistah Space Twitter.
Buckingham Palace responded with a statement saying that the member of the royal household had resigned and apologized after “unacceptable and deeply regrettable comments” were made.
Friday’s statement from the palace added, “Both Ms Fulani and Lady Susan ask now that they be left in peace to rebuild their lives in the wake of an immensely distressing period for them both. They hope that their example shows a path to resolution can be found with kindness, co-operation and the condemnation of discrimination wherever it takes root.”
The palace added that the royal households are continuing “their focus on inclusion and diversity, with an enhanced programme of work which will extend knowledge and training programmes, examining what can be learnt from Sistah Space, and ensuring these reach all members of their communities.”
King Charles and Queen Camilla, as well as other members of the royal family, have been “kept fully informed” of the incident and “are pleased that both parties have reached this welcome outcome.”
Fulani attended Queen Camilla‘s event to highlight the campaign against domestic and sexual abuse of women. Fulani was invited by Safe Lives, one of the charities Camilla, 75, has long supported.
Following the event, Camilla issued a rare personal tweet on the royal family’s Twitter account.
“Today, a remarkable group of people gathered at Buckingham Palace with one aim – to see the end of violence against women and girls. I was deeply moved and inspired by their stories. With determination and courage, we will see the end of these heinous crimes forever,” she said, signing the message from “Camilla R,” standing for the Latin word for queen, “Regina.”