An honorary member of the Buckingham Palace household has apologized and resigned after repeatedly asking a Black woman where she came from at an event this week.
Ngozi Fulani, chief executive of an organization called Sistah Space, alleged on Twitter that a member of staff, who she identified as “Lady SH,” approached her and repeatedly asked her about where she was from, among other comments. Fulani repeated that she is from the United Kingdom and was born in the country.
Sistah Space is an organization that provides support for women of African and Caribbean heritage who are abuse survivors.
The incident occurred at a Tuesday reception hosted by Queen Consort Camilla for women working to address domestic violence. Buckingham Palace in a statement to USA TODAY said it takes the incident “extremely seriously” and has “investigated immediately to establish the full details.”
“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 palace said.
“In the meantime, the individual concerned wishes to express her profound apologies for the hurt caused and has stepped aside from her honorary role with immediate effect.”
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Buckingham Palace declined to identify the person who made the comments. Britain’s Press Association and multiple outlets have confirmed that the person was Lady Susan Hussey, a former lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth II and Prince William’s godmother.
The incident comes after Duchess Meghan of Sussex alleged in an interview last year with Oprah Winfrey that someone at the palace raised conversations while she was pregnant with her and Prince Harry’s first child about “how dark” the baby’s “skin might be when he’s born.”
Neil Basu, the outgoing assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan police, said in an interview published this week that Harry and Meghan were subject to a slate of online threats when they lived in the United Kingdom. Basu called the abuse “disgusting and very real.”
The Guardian last year published a report saying Queen Elizabeth II’s top courtiers banned “coloured immigrants or foreigners” from working in clerical roles in the royal household until at least the late 1960s, according to documents the outlet discovered in the United Kingdom’s National Archives.
The outlet also reported the documents show that in the 1970s, the queen and her aides negotiated with government officials to exempt the royal household from laws aimed at blocking discriminatory hiring practices.
Contributing: Maria Puente, USA TODAY; The Associated Press
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