Prince William condemns ‘unacceptable comments’ by his own godmother Lady Susan Hussey


Prince William’s spokesman today condemned ‘unacceptable’ comments by his own godmother who resigned from the royal household after she was accused of racism at a Buckingham Palace reception set up by Queen Consort Camilla.

Lady Susan Hussey, 83, a former lady-in-waiting to the late Queen, quit after she allegedly refused to believe a black domestic abuse campaigner was British and asked her: ‘What part of Africa are you from?’ as they spoke at the event yesterday.

The resignation is humiliating for Camilla and a potential PR disaster for Lady Hussey’s godson William, who lands in the US today with the Princess of Wales for a three-day tour now at risk of being overshadowed by the race row.  

Addressing reporters before the start of the visit, a Kensington Palace spokesman said: ‘I want to address the story relating to a guest attending a reception at Buckingham Palace last night.

‘This is a matter for Buckingham Palace but as the Prince of Wales spokesperson I appreciate you’re all here and understand you’ll want to ask about it. So let me address is head on.

Camilla, the Queen Consort, centre, attends a reception to raise awareness of violence against women and girls yesterday where one of her ladies of the household made ‘unacceptable and deeply regrettable comments’ to Ngozi Fulani (circled in red)

Ngozi Fulani (pictured centre at Buckingham Palace yesterday), director of the east London charity Sistah Space, claims a royal aide asked her: 'What part of Africa are you from?'

Ngozi Fulani claims royal aide, believed to be Lady Susan Hussey, asked her: 'What part of Africa are you from?'

Ngozi Fulani (pictured centre at Buckingham Palace yesterday), director of the east London charity Sistah Space, claims royal aide, believed to be Lady Susan Hussey,  asked her: ‘What part of Africa are you from?’

Ms Fulani shared this transcript of the alleged incident but said the rest of the event was a 'blur'

Ms Fulani shared this transcript of the alleged incident but said the rest of the event was a ‘blur’

Charity founder at centre of Palace race row previously said ‘Meghan is a survivor of domestic violence from her in-laws’ and said she admired Duchess for ‘speaking out’ 

The charity founder at the centre of the latest palace race row is a campaigner who has  previously accused the Royal Family of ‘domestic violence’ against Meghan Markle.

Ngozi Fulani, director of the east London charity Sistah Space, was asked by Queen Consort Camilla’s aide Lady Susan Hussey ‘what part of Africa are you from?’ – despite having been born and raised in Britain.

Buckingham Palace said the comments were ‘unacceptable and deeply regrettable’, while Lady Susan has apologised and stepped down from her honorary post.

Ms Fulani, whose charity works with women with African and Caribbean heritage who have suffered violence at home, has previously accused the Royal Family of ‘domestic violence’ against Meghan Markle.

She made the claim in March 2021, just after Piers Morgan resigned from Good Morning Britain after saying he did not believe Meghan’s claims about her requests for mental health treatment being refused by palace officials.

Ms Fulani tweeted: ‘Our charity supports black women DV survivors. I can’t stay silent about this. I admire Meghan for speaking out. According to clear definition, it seems Meghan is a survivor of DV from her in-laws. Ps, I’m glad hypocrite Piers left ITV.’

The campaigner, who has a BA in African Studies at SOAS, University of London, has also worked as a specialist advocate for domestic violence victims.

In an interview with the Guardian in 2020, she suggested black women were not reporting their abusers because they were worried about them being killed by police.

‘Women want the abuse to stop but we know what happens to black men in police custody,’ she said. ‘These women do not want to risk their abusers being hurt or murdered.’

In an online profile, Ms Fulani described how she grew up in Kilburn, north London, as one of seven children as the ‘only black family on our road’.

Her mother worked for London Transport before training as a nurse, while her father was a railway worker before providing sound systems to parties in the evening.

Describing the racism they experienced, Ms Fulani said: ‘Our lives were about him moving around, moving around playing music at house parties, because we were not allowed in main venues.

‘Black people were not allowed. No dogs, No Blacks, No Irish. We had to cram people in rooms at house parties, and we were very aware from the get-go that even though we were born here, we were not welcome.’

She also described the discrimination black people faced in wider society, including being called ‘w***’ and facing violence at the hands of the police.

‘Police beating black people was a national sport,’ she wrote. ‘Police will not talk about this. I don’t know anyone over the age of fifty who has siblings or parents who hasn’t experienced police brutality.

‘Groups of police would go out and beat black people to hell. My brothers came home from school with their faces swollen. People here held contempt for us, and they still do.’

Ms Fulani said her ‘life changed’ when she joined an African dance group as a teenager.

‘To hear Africans with strong accents, learn about the food and the drumming touched my heart and took me to a place I had never been,’ she wrote.

‘It was everything for me and I had never felt so free as when I was listening to those drums. It was all so beautiful, the clothes, the beads, the cowrie shells, and the stories.’

Concluding the piece, she added: ‘Nothing has changed. It’s just different. The racism is just as intense, the hate is still there. I keep my truth.’

Buckingham Palace said: ‘We take this incident extremely seriously and have investigated immediately to establish the full details.

‘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.

‘All members of the Household are being reminded of the diversity and inclusivity policies which they are required to uphold at all times.’

 

‘I was really disappointed to hear about the guests experience at Buckingham Palace last night. Obviously, I wasn’t there, but racism has no place in our society. The comments were unacceptable, and it is right that the individual has stepped aside with immediate effect.’

Speaking today, Ngozi Fulani, director of the east London charity Sistah Space, said she was so shocked by the incident at Buckingham Palace that she ‘couldn’t report it to the Queen Consort’ who had thrown the reception.

She told the Mirror: ‘It was prolonged racism. It was like an interrogation. This wasn’t just a few seconds, it was concerted over several minutes. It felt, as three black women, that we were trespassers, that we were not welcome or accepted as British’.

She added that she although she felt ‘very unwelcome’ and ‘attacked’ she did not want Hussey to lose her job.

Mandu Reid, of the Women’s Equality Party, who was also part of the conversation between Lady Hussey and Ms Fulani, she said she thinks the Royal Household ‘needs to be given cultural competence training.’

Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, she added: ‘None of us could believe what was being said and I can tell you it was Lady Susan Hussey as she had a name badge on.

‘It felt as if Ngozi was being interrogated and that at any point all three of us, there was another black woman called Daisy there, would be asked for our IDs.

‘Lady Susan persisted in her tone of questioning just as Ngozi described and she just kept asking ‘where are you from ?’ and ‘where are your people from ?’

‘She made us feel as if we were trespassers as what should have been a very joyful event to which we had been invited to and to celebrate the work we have done.

‘I can tell you that I’m certain there is no way she would have asked those sort of questions and taken that line of questioning if Ngozi was a white woman.’

The Palace said it took the incident extremely seriously’ and had investigated immediately.  Staff have been ‘reminded of the diversity and inclusivity policies which they are required to uphold at all times’, a spokesman said.

Referring to the aide as Lady SH, Ms Fulani had said being asked by a member of the royal household where she ‘really came from’ at Camilla’s key engagement on violence against women on Tuesday will ‘never leave me’. 

Lady Hussey was outed in a series of tweets that will be acutely embarrassing for the Royal Family, who were accused of racism by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle after Megxit. 

She was the Queen’s most senior Lady in Waiting and nicknamed Her Majesty’s ‘Number One Head Girl’ by royal staff.

As a new race row engulfed the royals, Buckingham Palace said it took the incident, at the Queen Consort’s reception on violence against women on Tuesday, ‘extremely seriously’ and had investigated immediately.

A spokesman said: ‘We take this incident extremely seriously and have investigated immediately to establish the full details. 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. All members of the Household are being reminded of the diversity and inclusivity policies which they are required to uphold at all times.’

The row emerged hours before the Prince and Princess of Wales took off for Boston this morning for a three-day trip to the US culminating with a possible meeting with  President Joe Biden and the Earthshot Prize awards ceremony on Friday.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, who released their latest Invictus Games trailer today, made headlines around the world when they accused a senior member of the royal family of being racist towards Archie and his skin colour during their 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Camilla gave a speech at yesterday’s event for 300 people where she owed to speak out about the ‘global pandemic of violence against women’ in a watershed speech at Buckingham Palace yesterday. 

She was watched by two other Queens – Rania of Jordan and Mathilde of Belgium – Crown Princess Mary of Denmark and the Countess of Wessex. Other ambassadors included Spice Girl Melanie Brown and Love Island star Zara McDermott who have campaigned on issues including domestic abuse and revenge porn.

Also in the room was Ms Fulani, who said on Twitter today that she had been ‘insulted’ by a palace aide who she accused of asking ‘where she was really from’ when she said she was from Hackney.

The royal aide then allegedly said: ‘No but where do you really come from? Where do your people come from? When did you first come here?’

Ms Fulani claims she then said: ‘Lady! I am a British national, my parents came here in the 50s’, to which the woman replied: ‘I knew we’d get there in the end. You’re Caribbean’. Ms Fulani replied: ‘No lady, I am of African heritage, Caribbean descent and British nationality’.

The Sistah Space founder said this morning: ‘Mixed feelings about yesterday’s visit to Buckingham Palace. 10 mins after arriving, a member of staff approached me, moved my hair to see my name badge. The rest of the event is a blur’.

She said: ‘It was such a shock to me and the other two women that we were stunned to temporary silence. I just stood at the edge of the room, smiled and engaged briefly with who spoke to me until I could leave.

‘Standing there in a room packed with people while this violation was taking place was so strange, especially as the event was about violence against women’.

She added: ‘My children and grandchildren were proud though, in my parent’s time, black people were only allowed in to those spaces to serve. Kind of glad my folks were not around to witness this violation.

‘I let my guard down. Never again. It was such a struggle to stay in a space that you were violated in.

‘I think it is essential to acknowledge that trauma has occurred and being invited and then insulted has caused much damage’.

MailOnline has asked Buckingham Palace to comment.

She thanked Mandu Reid, leader of the Women’s Equality Party, and Safe Lives chief executive Suzanne Jacob for their support on the day.

Ms Reid, the first person of colour to lead a national political party in British history, tweeted that she had also heard the exchange.

‘I was right there. I witnessed this first hand,’ she said. ‘We were at an event that was supposed to celebrate our work. For people like … people like us will never really belong here’.

Meghan and Harry’s favoured journalist Omid Scobie was quick to pick up on the claims about racism at the Palace, tweeting: ‘Yesterday’s event should have been a moment to uplift and support. The fact that Fulani—a prominent figure providing the only safe space in Britain for Black survivors of domestic violence—was made to feel this way by a senior Palace aide is unforgivable’.

Prince William, Prince of Wales and Catherine, Princess of Wales, flew to Boston today

Ms Fulani said she had been 'insulted' by a palace aide who she accused of asking 'where she was really from' when she said she was from Hackney

Ms Fulani said she had been ‘insulted’ by a palace aide who she accused of asking ‘where she was really from’ when she said she was from Hackney

The domestic abuse charity founder tweeted about the incident this morning

The domestic abuse charity founder tweeted about the incident this morning

Queen Elizabeth ll, accompanied by her lady-in-waiting, Lady Susan Hussey, in 2012

Queen Elizabeth ll, accompanied by her lady-in-waiting, Lady Susan Hussey, in 2012

EXCLUSIVE: Biden is expected to meet William and Kate in Boston on Friday as White House and British officials race to finalize details ahead of royal couple’s first U.S. visit since the death of Queen Elizabeth II 

The Prince and Princess of Wales are expected to meet President Joe Biden in Boston on Friday, DailyMail.com can exclusively reveal, as the White House and British officials work to finalize details.

Neither side will comment publicly. 

But sources familiar with arrangements said the heir to the British throne and Biden are trying to make use of a scheduling quirk that puts them both in Boston on the same day.

Prince William will be there to give out awards for the Earthshot Prize on Friday night, an organization he founded to promote entrepreneurs working on environmental issues.

The White House announced on Tuesday that Biden will be in town for a political fundraiser. 

It has left the two sides scrambling to nail down timings and protocol for two busy schedules

Ms Fulani has been a firm supporter of Meghan and Harry herself, even making the startling claim last year that the Duchess was a victim of ‘domestic violence’ from other members of the Royal Family.

She made the claim in March 2021, just after Piers Morgan resigned from Good Morning Britain after saying he did not believe Meghan’s claims about her requests for mental health treatment being refused by palace officials.

Ms Fulani tweeted: ‘Our charity supports black women DV survivors. I can’t stay silent about this. I admire Meghan for speaking out. According to clear definition, it seems Meghan is a survivor of DV from her in-laws.

The row may overshadow the start of William and Kate’s crucial trip to the US.

Boston’s landmarks will be lit up green by the Prince and Princess of Wales when they begin a three-day visit to the US culminating in the Earthshot Prize awards ceremony.

William and Kate begin their first official overseas trip since the death of the Queen with a welcome event outside Boston City Hall attended by Michelle Wu, the city’s mayor.

From Speaker’s Corner the couple will formally begin the countdown to Earthshot, being hosted by Boston on Friday, by lighting up City Hall and other prominent buildings green.

Superstar singer Billie Eilish will lead a stellar line-up for the awards ceremony, founded by William to recognise and scale-up environmental solutions to repair the planet.

Other acts to feature are Annie Lennox, Ellie Goulding and Beyonce proteges Chloe x Halle, performing at the MGM Music Hall in Boston.

A royal source said: ‘The prize has become the Prince’s Superbowl moment of the year, and he looks forward to continuing to use the platform each year to shine a light on some of the most impactful projects doing amazing things around the world to save our planet’s future.’ 

Queen Consort Camilla has hosted Queen Rania of Jordan and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark ahead of the reception at Buckingham Palace yesterday

Queen Consort Camilla has hosted Queen Rania of Jordan and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark ahead of the reception at Buckingham Palace yesterday

The Earthshot Prize is now in its second year, and among the 15 finalists vying for £1million awarded to each of the five category winners are a cleaner-burning stove initiative in Kenya and a bubble barrier made in the Netherlands to prevent plastics entering oceans.

There are also finalists from the UK for the first time, with two British-based entries selected.

Notpla Hard Material – a start-up run by Pierre Paslier and Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez in London – makes packaging from seaweed and plants as an alternative to single use plastic, and has already produced more than one million biodegradable takeaway food boxes for the firm Just Eat.

The other UK finalist – Low Carbon Materials, based in County Durham – uses unrecyclable plastic waste to make traditional concrete blocks carbon-zero.

Broadcaster Sir David Attenborough, a supporter of the Earthshot Prize since its inception, will voice the opening of the show while Oscar-winning actress and Earthshot judging panel member Cate Blanchett will narrate a lookback at the 2021 winners.

Billie Eilish is expected to perform at the Prince of Wales' Earthshot Prize awards in Boston

Cate Blanchett will also feature in the Earthshot event

Billie Eilish (left) is expected to perform at the Prince of Wales’ Earthshot Prize awards in Boston; Cate Blanchett (right) will also feature in the Earthshot event

Actor Rami Malek, who played singer Freddie Mercury in the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, will present an award, as will actress Catherine O’Hara, best known for starring in the film Home Alone, and environmental activist and actress Shailene Woodley.

William and Kate are also keen to meet local communities during their visit to Boston, which is famed for its Irish heritage, sports and history.

During their visit William and Kate will visit the John F Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum with Caroline Kennedy, the late president’s daughter.

The prince and princess will learn about the work local organisations are doing to mitigate the risk of rising sea levels to Boston, and when they tour the Greentown Labs, in the nearby town of Somerville, they will get an insight into the development of innovative green technologies.

At the premises of Roca, a non-profit organisation supporting disadvantaged young people, they will hear about the issues they face and Kate, who launched the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood in 2021, will visit the Centre on the Developing Child at Harvard University.

The Princess of Wales warned last night that ‘not enough is being done’ to help children in the first crucial years of their lives.

Kate, who as the Duchess of Cambridge took part in several campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of early childhood, pledged to use her new role to do ‘everything she can’ to nurture Britain’s youngsters.

She said: ‘There are fantastic examples of what can be achieved when we recognise the unique potential of early childhood and build a safe and loving world around a child.

‘But not enough is being done. That is why I am determined to continue to shine a light on this issue and to do everything I can to secure much greater focus on those first crucial few years for the youngest members of our society – they are, after all, our future.’

Setting out her mission for the next stage of her life in the Royal Family, the princess spoke about the ‘unique importance’ of the first five years of life, claiming it is possible to ‘create a healthier and happier society for future generations’.

Kate’s pledge follows a decade of work and royal engagements in which she has focused closely on early years development.

Next week, she will take her message to Boston in the US, as part of a three-day trip focused on the Prince of Wales’s Earthshot Prize. And in 2023 she is expected to launch another awareness-raising campaign as part of the next phase of the project.

Kate, 40, told The Daily Telegraph: ‘If we are going to tackle the sorts of complex challenges we face today like homelessness, violence and addiction, so often underpinned by poverty and poor mental health, we have to fully appreciate those most preventative years and do everything we can to nurture our children and those who care for them. We have an incredible opportunity, armed with all we now know as a result of the work of dedicated scientists, researchers and practitioners, to make a huge difference to the mental and physical health of generations to come.’

Amanda Berry, chief executive of the Royal Foundation charity which supports the work of Kate and William, said: ‘The Princess of Wales has developed a real knowledge and passion for this work over the past decade and has made it clear that in her new role her commitment is as strong as ever.

‘Ensuring that people understand the importance of the first five years of a child’s life and the huge impact early childhood has on shaping the rest of our lives will continue to be a major focus of Her Royal Highness’s work. This is also where The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood is uniquely placed to help.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk