UK royals declare peace after race row with charity head

Sistah Space charity founder Ngozi Fulani was grilled at palace reception by household companion to Queen Consort Camilla

By AFP

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Lady Susan Hussey with Ngozi Fulani, founder of the charity Sistah Space in the Regency room in Buckingham Palace, London. –Reuters
Lady Susan Hussey with Ngozi Fulani, founder of the charity Sistah Space in the Regency room in Buckingham Palace, London. –Reuters

Published: Sat 17 Dec 2022, 12:07 AM

Buckingham Palace on Friday declared a reconciliation between Prince William's godmother and a black British woman who was repeatedly asked where she was "really" from.

Sistah Space charity founder Ngozi Fulani was grilled at a palace reception on November 29 by Susan Hussey, who refused to accept that she was British.

After Fulani revealed the exchange, the 83-year-old Lady Hussey stepped down from her role as a household companion to Queen Consort Camilla, the wife to King Charles III.

William's spokesman said at the time: "Racism has no place in our society."

Fulani and Hussey on Friday held a meeting at Buckingham Palace and said in a joint statement issued by royal officials it was "filled with warmth and understanding".

Hussey offered her "sincere apologies" and pledged to learn more about the racial sensitivities involved, while Fulani accepted the apology "and appreciates that no malice was intended".

Fulani, who works to help black survivors of domestic abuse, had received "the most appalling torrent of abuse on social media and elsewhere", the palace noted, after she was forced to suspend her charity work to protect her clients and staff.

Charles, Camilla and other royals "are pleased that both parties have reached this welcome outcome", the statement concluded.

The row erupted in the days before William's estranged brother Prince Harry and wife Meghan issued fresh allegations of racism in the family, in their Netflix documentary series.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, who like Meghan is mixed race, rallied to the royals' defence at the weekend.

He said there was no stronger supporter of a multicultural Britain than Charles, Harry's father.

"And I think the royal family's attitude to this country reflects the modern country that we see," Cleverly told Sky News.


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