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Buckingham Palace aide resigns over ‘unacceptable’ remarks to Black charity founder

MarketWatch logo MarketWatch 11/30/2022 Nicole Lyn Pesce
© AFP via Getty Images
THE MARGIN

A Buckingham Palace staffer who served as the late Queen Elizabeth’s lady-in-waiting has resigned after repeatedly asking a Black British charity founder where she “really” came from. 

The royal aide in question — Lady Susan Hussey, 83, who is Prince William’s godmother — has apologized and stepped down after her exchange with charity founder Ngozi Fulani went viral on Twitter, the BBC reported.

Fulani, who runs the Sistah Space charity that supports survivors of domestic and sexual abuse, claimed in a tweet that she had “mixed feelings” after visiting Buckingham Palace on Tuesday for a charity event. Fulani said that a palace staff member, whom she identified as “Lady SH,” asked to see her name badge. Fulani alleges the royal aide then kept asking, “Where are you from?” and “What part of Africa are you from?” — even though Fulani kept telling her she is a British national, who was born in the U.K., and that her parents have lived in Britain since the 1950s. 

A Buckingham Palace rep told BBC News that Hussey’s remarks were “unacceptable and deeply regrettable.” The palace also said that it was inviting Fulani discuss the experience in person, if she wants. 

“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 said in a statement.

And a spokesperson for Prince William told the BBC that “racism has no place in our society.” They added, “The comments were unacceptable, and it is right that the individual has stepped aside with immediate effect.” 

Sistah Space later tweeted from its official Twitter account that it was not their wish to reveal the person involved, but rather, “It is the system that needs to be revised.” 

“Yes, the person was offensive, but it serves no purpose to name and shame her,” the post continued. “We prefer that this be handled kindly.” 

But BBC News said Mandu Reid, the leader of the Women’s Equality Party and an eyewitness to the exchange, had confirmed that Hussey was the royal aide involved. 

The incident has resurfaced conversations about the British royal family’s relationship with race, including Prince Harry and Meghan Markle alleging in a 2021 Oprah Winfrey interview that a member of the royal household was concerned about the skin color of Harry and Meghan’s future children. The palace later said that the “issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning.’’ 

Related: Royal staffers ‘livid’ and ‘shaken’ after learning they could lose their jobs when King Charles moves to Buckingham Palace: report

And the Buckingham Palace report and resignation comes as Prince William and Princess Kate were set to arrive in Boston on Wednesday — their first visit to the U.S. in eight years — ahead of the Earthshot Awards on Friday. 

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