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Queen’s former lady in waiting apologies to charity boss for asking where she ‘really came from’

The Scotsman logo The Scotsman 16/12/2022 Alan Young

Lady Susan Hussey, who asked a black British charity boss where she “really came from” during a Buckingham Palace reception, has apologised in person, Buckingham Palace has said.

© Lady Susan Hussey attends Wimbledon

Ngozi Fulani, founder of the charity Sistah Space, expressed shock at her treatment by Lady Susan, the late Queen’s lady in waiting, and said she had suffered “horrific abuse” on social media in the aftermath.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement the two women had met on Friday morning at Buckingham Palace: “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.

“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.

“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.”

The King and Queen Consort and other members of the royal family have been kept informed of the development and are “pleased that both parties have reached this welcome outcome,” the statement added.

Lady Susan, the Prince of Wales’s 83-year-old godmother, resigned from the royal household and apologised after she repeatedly challenged Ms Fulani, when she said she was British, at Camilla’s reception highlighting violence against women and girls a few weeks ago.

The encounter is said to have begun when the former royal aide, who served as the late Queen’s lady in waiting for more than 60 years and had an honorary role as one of three Ladies of the Household, touched the charity boss’ hair, moving it aside so she could see her name badge.

It is understood William agreed it was right for his godmother Lady Susan to step down from her role, with a Kensington Palace spokesman saying at the time “Racism has no place in our society”.

Ms Fulani said the comments were down to racism not Lady Susan’s age when she was interviewed by BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

She said: “I’ve heard so many suggestions it’s about her age and stuff like that and I think that’s a kind of a disrespect about ageism, are we saying that because of your age you can’t be racist or you can’t be inappropriate?

“If you invite people to an event, as I said, against domestic abuse, and there are people there from different demographics, I don’t see the relevance of whether I’m British or not British. You’re trying to make me unwelcome in my own space.”

The palace statement added: “The Royal Households will continue 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.

© Ngozi Fulani, chief executive of Sistah Space.

“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.”


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