‘Racist’ comments made by Prince William’s godmother are a ‘PR disaster for him and Kate’


‘Racist’ comments made by Prince William’s godmother are a ‘disaster’ for him and Kate as they head to the US today for their first trip in eight years, PR experts said today. 

The Prince of Wales today backed Lady Susan Hussey’s decision to step down from the royal household after she allegedly refused to believe a black domestic abuse campaigner was British and asked her: ‘What part of Africa are you from?’ 

Publicist Mark Borkowski said the comments, which were made at a reception organised by Queen Consort Camilla, would serve as ‘ammunition’ for Meghan and Harry – who today released a polished trailer for the Invictus Games on the same day William and Kate began their US visit.  

Mr Borkowski told MailOnline: ‘This is a PR disaster for the Royal Family and it is going to cause huge problems, especially at the start of William and Kate’s US trip which will be dominated by a new racism row. They are flying into a perfect storm.

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

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?’

‘It is also ammunition for Meghan and Harry who can now tell Americans they have been proved right and say: ‘Look we told you so’ when they are on their own PR blitz with their Netflix show out next week and their Invictus promotions.

‘This scandal is the first real big test and crisis of Charles’ reign. He must be ruthless in throwing this old guard out of the royal household. The optics are very bad at this time when the King wants to create an image of a new, modern, Royal Family’. 

Today, Harry and Meghan were seen playing table tennis in a glossy 80-second video to promote the upcoming Invictus Games.  

Highlighting how the sport is being been introduced into the event for the first time next year, the video then showed male, female and disabled players competing in several back-to-back games.

As William and Kate began their trip in America, culture and brand expert Nick Ede warned they risked being overshadowed’ by 83-year-old Lady Susan’s comments. 

‘The whole point of William and Kate’s trip has been put into jeopardy by someone’s really terrible remarks at an event which – incredibly ironically – was meant to be all about inclusivity,’ he told MailOnline. 

‘It will perpetuate the flame that was lit by Meghan when she accused members of the royal household of making racist comments – the impact could be really quite catastrophic.’

Mr Ede said the scandal was particularly damaging due to it coinciding with a period of intense publicity for Meghan and Harry, who are set to be handed the Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope Award next month for speaking about alleged racism in the Royal Family.

He continued: ‘One of the reasons Meghan was given an award by the Kennedys was for standing up to ”racism” in the Royal Family. So this story coming out is a win for Meghan and Harry.

Prince Harry appeared in the new trailer for the Invictus Games today. The Duke of Sussex was filmed playing two games of table tennis

Prince Harry appeared in the new trailer for the Invictus Games today. The Duke of Sussex was filmed playing two games of table tennis

The Duchess of Sussex appeared right at the end of the video as she competed against her husband. The mother-of-two gave Harry an encouraging smile and nod

The Duchess of Sussex appeared right at the end of the video as she competed against her husband. The mother-of-two gave Harry an encouraging smile and nod

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’

‘There’s always going to be a push and pull between the households. And things like what came out today are only going to create more interest. That will be beneficial to Meg and Harry with Netflix and it will be detrimental to the other royals.

‘It also makes it harder to win across Americans whose view of the royals may have been tarnished by what’s happened recently.’

Royal author Richard Fitzwilliams told MailOnline: ‘These comments will go worldwide and they will be symbolic of precisely the attitudes the Sussexes claimed they had to fight. 

‘There is no doubt that aspects of royal life need reform, this is illustrated by Lady Susan’s behaviour. However, the British monarchy knows how to employ soft power and does change. 

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.’

 

‘The problem is people’s views, especially those of young people, are often influenced, not by details, those in the Sussexes’ Oprah interview were often inaccurate, but by perceptions – which is what makes this so damaging.’ 

Ngozi Fulani, director of the east London charity Sistah Space, said she was so shocked by the incident at Buckingham Palace yesterday 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.’ 

A spokesman for the Prince of Wales said it was ‘really disappointing’ to hear about the experiences of a guest at Buckingham Palace, adding: ‘Racism has no place in our society, these comments were unacceptable and it’s right that the individual concerned has stepped down’.

The resignation is humiliating for Camilla and a disaster for Lady Hussey’s godson Prince 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.

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, Ngozi Fulani 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.

A royal source confirmed to the Mirror that Lady Susan Hussey had departed from her honorary role in the Queen Consort’s household. 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.

The domestic abuse charity founder tweeted about the incident this morning

The domestic abuse charity founder tweeted about the incident this morning

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’.

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.’

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.     

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk