“We take this incident extremely seriously and have investigated immediately to establish the full details,” a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday, November 30. “In this instance, unacceptable and deeply regrettable comments have been made.”
Earlier on Wednesday, domestic abuse activist Ngozi Fulani took to social media and claimed she was asked racially loaded questions by “a member of staff, Lady SH” during a Tuesday, November 29, event at Buckingham Palace.
Fulani claimed that Hussey’s inquiries included “where do you really come from?” and “what part of Africa are you from?” despite repeatedly stating that she was born in the United Kingdom.
“Mixed feelings about yesterday’s visit to Buckingham Palace. 10 mins after arriving, Lady SH approached me [and] moved my hair to see my name badge,” the Sistah Space founder wrote via the charitable organization’s Twitter account.
According to the palace’s statement, the royal institution has “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 continued: “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. All members of the Household are being reminded of the diversity and inclusivity policies which they are required to uphold at all times.”
Speaking to The Guardian of her experience on Wednesday, Fulani said that she had “never felt so unwelcome or so uncomfortable.”
The activist continued: “I was almost forced to say that I’m not really British. I don’t know what she meant by ‘my people’. It was incomprehensible for her to consider that I have British citizenship. When she heard my parents were from the Caribbean she said, ‘Finally we are getting somewhere.’ … It was overt racism.”
Despite the royal staffer’s “shocking comments,” Fulani doesn’t think a resignation was the right conclusion.
“It’s tragic for me that it has ended that way. I would have preferred that she had been spoken to or re-educated,” she told the outlet.
A spokesperson for William, 40, and Princess Kate condemned the incident in a Wednesday statement, voicing support for the resignation decision.
“I was really disappointed to hear about the guest’s experience. Racism has no place in our society. These comments were unacceptable and it’s right that the individual has stepped aside with immediate effect,” the representative said.
The royal institution previously received backlash for alleged racism after Meghan Markle and Prince Harry‘s tell-all interview with CBS in March 2021. During the conversation, the couple alleged that a member of the royal household had asked how dark their son Archie’s skin tone would be ahead of his birth.
The palace responded to the claims with a brief statement. “The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan. The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately,” it read.
During the tell-all, Markle, 41, claimed that she was given “no explanation” for her son not receiving a royal title. However, a source exclusively told Us Weekly that there was royal precedent for the decision.
“The palace says it’s nothing to do with race,” the insider said at the time. “Under royal protocol established by King George V, only those in the direct line of succession to the throne get the titles [of] prince or princess.”