Late Queen’s Lady-In-Waiting Lady Susan Hussey Meets Black Charity Boss Ngozi Fulani to Apologise in Person
Rory Tingle, Daily Mail, December 16, 2022
The King and Queen Consort are said to be ‘pleased’ for the ‘welcome outcome’ after Lady Susan Hussey apologised in person to black British charity boss Ngozi Fulani – after repeatedly asking her ‘what part of Africa are you from?’ at a royal reception last month.
The 83-year-old, who served the late Queen for six decades, stepped down from her honorary role ‘with immediate effect’ amid a furious outcry after Miss Fulani tweeted about her experience at the event.
The scandal prompted an intervention from Prince William, with the heir to the throne criticising his godmother’s ‘unacceptable comments’ and saying ‘racism has no place in our society’.
Today, Buckingham Palace revealed the former aide had now met the activist, who founded the charity Sistah Space, to express her ‘sincere apologies’ – which they said Miss Fulani accepted.
The pair now want to ‘rebuild their lives in peace’ following the ‘distressing’ past few weeks, the Palace said in a statement.
It added that the King and Queen Consort were ‘pleased that both parties have reached this welcome outcome’, and criticised the ‘torrent of abuse’ Miss Fulani has since received on social media.
The Palace said today: ‘At this meeting, filled with warmth and understanding, Lady Susan offered her sincere apologies for the comments that were made and the distress they caused to Ms Fulani.
‘Lady Susan has pledged to deepen her awareness of the sensitivities involved and is grateful for the opportunity to learn more about the issues in this area.
‘Ms Fulani, who has unfairly received the most appalling torrent of abuse on social media and elsewhere, has accepted this apology and appreciates that no malice was intended.
‘Both Ms Fulani and Lady Susan ask now that they be left in peace to rebuild their lives in the wake of an immensely distressing period for them both.
‘They hope that their example shows a path to resolution can be found with kindness, co-operation and the condemnation of discrimination wherever it takes root.
‘It is the wish of both parties that, at the end of the UN’s 16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, attention can now return to the important work of Sistah Space in supporting women affected by domestic abuse.
‘Their Majesties The King and The Queen Consort and other members of the Royal Family have been kept fully informed and are pleased that both parties have reached this welcome outcome.’
Miss Fulani says she was left feeling ‘violated’ after Prince William’s godmother, who served as the late Queen’s right-hand woman for 62 years, ‘interrogated’ her about where she was from at a Palace reception, despite her making clear she was British.
She also accused Lady Susan of moving her hair in order to look at her name badge and asked her: ‘What part of Africa are you from?’ when she replied that she came from Hackney.
Only when the domestic violence campaigner said she was of Caribbean descent and African origin did Lady Hussey stop, saying: ‘I knew we’d get there in the end.’
Ms Fulani, 57, later posted a transcript of the exchange on social media, which led to a furious outcry, leading Lady Susan to quit her post.
Sources have previously told the Mail that while there was no doubt that the comments were made, ‘absolutely no malice was intended’.
Miss Fulani previously described her Buckingham Palace ordeal as a ‘form of abuse’.
She also said Lady Susan moved her dreadlocks during the exchange so she could read her name badge.
‘That’s a no-no,’ Miss Fulani said. ‘I wouldn’t put my hands in someone’s hair, and culturally it’s not appropriate.’
She added: ‘Although I didn’t experience physical violence, what I feel I experienced was a form of abuse.’
Miss Fulani also dismissed suggestions Lady Hussey’s comments were down to her age.
She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘Are we saying that because of your age you can’t be racist or you can’t be inappropriate?
‘If you invite people to an event, as I said, against domestic abuse, and there are people there from different demographics, I don’t see the relevance of whether I’m British or not British. You’re trying to make me unwelcome in my own space.’
Miss Fulani has received widespread support since the event, including from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s long-time friend, celebrated photographer and social activist Misan Harriman, who described her as ‘a GIANT in her field’.
He wrote on Twitter: ‘She has dedicated her life to protecting women that are survivors of domestic violence.
‘They should have known who she was and celebrated the fact that she is one of the souls that makes this country great.’
Mr Harriman famously announced Meghan was expecting her second child with a black and white image of the Sussexes in February last year, in which Harry could be seen resting his hand on his wife’s head as she lay in his lap.
He also contributed a stunning collection of portraits of Miss Fulani and fellow members of the Sistah Space community in an article for British Vogue last year.
Nazir Afzal, the former chief prosecutor in the north of England who helped convict the Rochdale grooming gang, later revealed he was also asked about his ‘heritage’ by Lady Susan at the now infamous royal reception.
Mr Afzal, who has repeatedly received racial abuse including Pakistani slurs during his career, said: ‘She (Lady Susan) only asked me my heritage once and seemed to accept my answer – Manchester currently! Racism is never far away though.’
It recently emerged Sistah Space could face an official probe into its finances in response to a string of claims made online.
The Charity Commission is reportedly ‘assessing material’ related to the charity, which offers support to victims of abuse and violence within the African and Caribbean communities.
Meanwhile the Greater London Assembly is now said to be re-examining whether thousands of pounds in grant money given to the charity was ‘used as intended’.
A Sistah Space spokesperson told the Telegraph: ‘Sistah Space has not been approached by the Charity Commission.
‘What we do know is they are assessing information posted on social media, part of their normal procedure, but haven’t opened an official investigation, however should they contact us we will of course cooperate fully.’