Prince William's godmother is quitting as royal assistant after "deeply regrettable" comments to activist

Prince William’s godmother is quitting as royal assistant after “deeply regrettable” comments to activist

The late Queen Elizabeth’s lady-in-waiting has resigned and apologized after making “unacceptable and deeply regrettable comments” by asking a prominent black advocate for domestic violence survivors where she “really comes from”.

Buckingham Palace said it took the incident at Tuesday’s reception of Britain’s Queen regarding violence against women “extremely seriously” and was immediately investigating.

A source has confirmed to the PA news agency that the person who made the comments was Susan Hussey, 83, who served as maid of honor to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth for more than 60 years and is a godmother to Prince William.

Queen Elizabeth II and her lady-in-waiting Lady Susan Hussey (Chris Radburn/PA)

William is understood to agree that it was right for Ms Hussey to resign. A Kensington Palace spokesman told reporters in the US ahead of William and his wife Kate’s trip to Boston: “Racism has no place in our society.

“The comments were unacceptable and it is correct that the individual has resigned with immediate effect.”

Sistah Space chief executive Ngozi Fulani detailed the conversation on Twitter, describing it as a “violation” and saying the experience “will never leave me.”

She only called the member of the palace household Lady SH, but the palace refused to confirm who it was.

She has now stepped down from her honorary role as one of three ladies of the household, to which she was newly appointed to assist King Charles on formal occasions.

Ngozi Fulani wrote about her experience at the palace reception (Ngozi Fulani/Sistah Space/PA)

Charles, who ascended the throne less than three months ago, and Camilla have been made aware of the situation, Buckingham Palace said.

Ms Fulani said she was challenged when she said her charity was based in Hackney, with “Lady SH” saying: “No, what part of Africa are YOU from?”

The palace said in a statement: “Unacceptable and deeply regrettable comments have been made in this case. We have reached out to Ngozi Fulani on this matter and invite her to personally discuss any elements of her experience if she so desires.

“Meanwhile, the person concerned would like to sincerely apologize for the pain caused and has resigned from their volunteer position with immediate effect.

“All members of the household are reminded of the diversity and inclusivity guidelines, which they must adhere to at all times.”

Camilla hosted a reception to raise awareness of the campaign to end violence against women and girls (Kin Cheung/PA)

Mandu Reid, leader of the Women’s Equality Party, who stood next to Ms Fulani and witnessed the exchange, told the PA news agency they were being treated like “trespassers”.

Ms Reid said: “We really felt like, ‘Oh, OK, we’re almost being treated like intruders in this place. We’re not treated like we belong, we’re not hugged like we’re British.

Describing the conversation as “grim” and like an “interrogation,” she added, “She was really persistent. She didn’t take Ngozi’s answers at face value.”

Ms Fulani described the encounter, which took place 10 minutes after arriving at the palace picture gallery, on social media, including the remarks: “‘Where are you from?’

“Me: ‘Here, Britain’. “No, but what nationality are you?” Me: ‘I was born here and I’m British.’ ‘No, but where are you really from, where are your people from?’ Me: ‘My people, lady, what is this?’

‘Oh I see I’m going to have a challenge to get you to say where you’re from’.”

Ms Fulani, who founded Sistah Space in 2015 to provide expert support to African and Caribbean women affected by abuse, wrote: “Mixed feelings about yesterday’s visit to Buckingham Palace.

“Ten minutes after my arrival, a member of staff, Lady SH, walked up to me, moving my hair to see my name tag. The following conversation took place. The rest of the event is hazy.”

She thanked Ms Reid, the first person of color to lead a national political party in British history, and Suzanne Jacob, chief executive of Safe Lives, for their support on the day.

In response to messages of support, Ms Fulani wrote: “It was so strange to be standing in a room full of people while this violation was taking place, especially as the event was about violence against women.

“This feeling of not knowing what to do will NEVER leave me. Almost alone in a room full of advocates.”

She said it was a “struggle to stay in a room where you got hurt”.

Ms Fulani expressed desperation at not being able to report the incident and said she felt she had nothing to say to Camilla.

The Queen Consort speaks about violence against women and girls during palace reception (Kin Cheung/PA)

“There was no one I could report this to. I couldn’t (sic) report it to the Queen Consort plus it was such a shock to me and the other two women that we were stunned and temporarily breastfeeding,” she wrote.

“I just stood at the edge of the room, smiled, and briefly engaged with whoever was speaking to me until I could leave.”

Ms Jacob tweeted it was “a terrible thing to happen and in a space that should have been nothing but love and celebration” and said she would raise it with the team who had organized for her to be there .

The matter raises serious concerns for Buckingham Palace, where an unnamed British royal was accused by Meghan Markle of racism against her unborn son Archie last year.

Meghan, the first multiracial person to marry a British senior royal in centuries, said during her Oprah interview that one royal – neither Queen Elizabeth nor her husband Philip – expressed concerns to Harry about how dark Archie’s complexion might be before he it was born.

The Queen issued a statement saying the issues raised would be dealt with privately as family but that “some memories may vary”.

Sistah Space said they would not name the household member, adding, “At Sistah Space, we want to raise awareness of this issue rather than shaming another person.”

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