Lady Hussey, an honorary member of Buckingham Palace and godmother to Prince William, has resigned from her post after her racist actions towards a Black guest invited to attend a royal event on domestic abuse.
Ngozi Fulani, the CEO of the victim’s rights organization Sistah Space — which helps women of African and Caribbean descent who have been victims of domestic violence — shared her experience with the honorary place official.
In an interview with The Independent, Fulani said the issue was “bigger than one individual. It’s institutional racism,” the BBC wrote.
“I was in shock after it happened and anybody who knows me knows I don’t take this kind of nonsense,” she said.
“But I had to consider so many things. As a black person, I found myself in this place where I wanted to say something but what happened would automatically be seen as my fault, it would bring [my charity] Sistah Space down.
Former Lady-in-waiting and close confidant of Queen Elizabeth II, Hussey allegedly questioned the women’s rights advocate on her ethnicity and nationality.
“Where do you really come from?” she asked.
Refusing to accept Fulani maintaining that she is British, Lady H continued to press the invited guest, in what seemed more like an interrogation, than a conversation.
“Where do your people really come from? When did you first come here?”
It’s a line that people of color unfortunately frequently face in countries where they are a minority.
The British-born citizen tweeted a partial transcript of the encounter, where she said to Hussey:
“Lady! I am a British national, my parents came here in the ’50s.”
Mixed feelings about yesterday's visit to Buckingham Palace. 10 mins after arriving, a member of staff, Lady SH, approached me, moved my hair to see my name badge. The conversation below took place. The rest of the event is a blur.
Thanks @ManduReid & @SuzanneEJacob for support🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/OUbQKlabyq
— Sistah Space (@Sistah_Space) November 30, 2022
A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace released a statement condemning the incident, saying that it was being taken “extremely seriously.”
“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,” the spokesperson said, CNN reported.
“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 Royal Family has received criticism and backlash amid allegations of racism from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex — Harry and Meghan. The pair have distanced themselves from the Palace, moving to America with their son Archie of whom Meghan says royal staff members have made comments about his skin color.
A spokesperson for William, the Prince of Wales, condemned the statements made by Lady SH, saying:
“Racism has no place in our society, these comments were unacceptable. It’s right that the individual concerned has stepped down.”
While concerning, what happened to the charity founder is not completely surprising.
The wife of Princess Diana’s son Harry, Canadian actress Meghan Markle, has been under constant attack since the pair came out as a couple nearly six years ago. Markle has faced relentless racial abuse and harassment that was so concerning that authorities were forced to investigate.
“If you’d seen the stuff that was written, and you were receiving it .. you would feel under constant threat all of the time,” a member of the royal protection team, Neil Basu, told British media.
The threats were deemed “credible, real, and disgusting,” according to a former counterterrorism police chief.
The way that Markle was treated after her marriage to Prince Harry exposed a deeper issue within the Royal family – pervasive and insidious racism. It has shined a light on the monarchy’s deeply rooted biases and maltreatment of people of color.
Fulani’s experience sadly isn’t a surprising one, and while those speaking up on behalf of the family have condemned the actions of Lady SH, it’s going to take more than words to convince the world.
Original reporting by Max Foster and Joshua Berlinger at CNN.
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