Buckingham Palace was rocked by a race row today after a member of the household resigned after comments made to a guest at Queen Consort Camilla’s reception to discuss ending violence against women.
Lady Susan Hussey, who was a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth II for decades and was detained by King Charles after his mother’s death, has resigned after allegedly killing Ngozi Fulani, a black woman who runs the domestic violence charity Sistah Space in Hackney, had asked, “What part of Africa are you from?”
In response to Ms Fulani’s allegations on Twitter, Buckingham Palace said it took the situation “extremely seriously”, adding that Lady Susan Hussey had issued a “profound apology” for her words. Her resignation ends a six-decade career in the royal household during which she became one of Queen Elizabeth II’s closest confidants. Her role was so important that she even earned a brief part in Netflix’s The Crown.
Lady Susan Hussey, 83 (pictured in 2016 at a Thanksgiving service in memory of Sir Terry Wogan), has resigned from her honorary role as Lady of the Household at Buckingham Palace after being accused by a black woman who runs Sistah Space on domestic violence charity by asking, “What part of Africa are you from?”
Lady Susan, 83, was welcomed to The Firm in 1960, around the time Her Majesty’s late gave birth to her third child, Prince Andrew, when she was hired to help answer letters to the Royal Household, Tatler reports.
She is the youngest daughter of the 12th Earl of Waldegrave and the widow of Marmaduke Hussey, former chairman of the BBC who died in 2006.
After assuming her role and growing closer to the monarch, she soon became known as one of the Queen’s late ‘Head Girls’ as a lady-in-waiting. Before long, she was reportedly nicknamed ‘Number One Head Girl’ as she continued to support the Queen.
During her time as the royal family’s closest confidante, Lady Susan grew close to King Charles. So close, in fact, that he asked her to be godmother to his eldest son, Prince William.
In the 1980s, she was an expert on the inner workings of the royal family and royal convention, and is thought to have been one of the key figures who taught Princess Diana the ropes when she married in The Firm. When Diana appeared in the infamous BBC Panorama interview with Martin Bashir in 1995, Marmaduke Hussey was BBC chairman.
Her closeness to members of the royal family, including Diana, led to her being portrayed briefly in series five of The Crown by actress Haydn Gwynne. Marmaduke Hussey, who reportedly objected to the Bashir interview, is played by Richard Cordery.
Lady Susan Hussey was a close friend and confidante of Queen Elizabeth II and served as her lady-in-waiting for over 60 years. Pictured with the late Her Majesty on the Gold Service Scholarship at Claridge’s in 2016
Lady Susan Hussey attended alongside senior royals during the 60 years she served as one of the late Queen Elizabeth II’s ladies-in-waiting. Pictured LR: Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, Sophie Wessex, Princess of Wales, Lady Susan Hussey at Remembrance Sunday at Whitehall in 2012
She is also said to have played a similar role in helping the Duchess of Sussex acclimate to life within the royal family.
While her role within the Royal Family has largely remained under the radar, eagle-eyed fans will have noticed her presence alongside several senior members over the years, guiding them along the way, but also standing in for the Queen when she was unable to attend a event such as a funeral.
Lady Susan attended the Remembrance Sunday proceedings at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, where she appeared on the balcony alongside Sophie Wessex, the Princess of Wales, and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, Princess Anne’s second husband.
She was also pictured alongside the King and Queen Consort at Royal Ascot this year, where the trio appeared glued to a race, with King Charles using binoculars to get a closer look.
In older photos, she has been spotted accompanying the Queen and Princess on outings in the car.
Lady Susan Hussey has long been friends with the consort of the King and Queen, and the monarch asked her to be godmother to Prince William when he was born. Pictured: Queen Consort, the King and Lady Susan at Royal Ascot, 2022
In 2013, Lady Susan Hussey was awarded a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honors List. Throughout her six decades of service, she has also been awarded the Queen Elizabeth II version of the Royal Household Long and Faithful Service Medal, which now carries a 60-year bar.
During the pandemic, Lady Susan was part of the ‘HMS Bubble’ during the lockdown, meaning she was allowed to spend time with her close friend Queen Elizabeth II despite Covid restrictions on socializing.
She was one of the few people allowed to accompany the late monarch to the funeral of her husband, Prince Philip. It is thought that the Queen personally asked Lady Susan to sit with her on her way to St George’s Chapel for the smaller service, according to The Mirror.
In September, she also attended the state funeral of her old friend, Queen Elizabeth II, and had also been to Westminster Hall in recent days to pay tribute as the Queen’s coffin lay in state.
As one of Queen Elizabeth II’s longest-serving ladies-in-waiting, the King and Queen Consort decided to keep Lady Susan on as a woman of the household at Buckingham Palace, with her daughter Lady Brooke following in her footsteps.
Her role, alongside two other ladies-in-waiting who were also detained, was to assist Their Majesties during formal occasions at Buckingham Palace.
According to Royal CentralLady Susan was present at the palace last week when South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was welcomed to the UK on a state visit and attended a banquet in his honor alongside senior members of the royal family.
Lady Susan Hussey was a close confidante of senior royals for decades during her service as one of Queen Elizabeth II’s ladies-in-waiting. In the picture with Princess Anne
Lady Susan Hussey attended Westminster Hall in September to pay her respects to her old friend, Queen Elizabeth II, as her coffin lay in state
Katherine Brook (pictured at a garden party in 2013) is the daughter of Lady Susan Hussey, who served as Lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth II for over 60 years
Lady Brooke, a close friend of Queen Consort Camilla and King Charles for many years, was announced by the palace as a “Queen’s Companion” last weekend.
Camilla, 74, named the six closest confidants, who will receive a nominal allowance to cover their expenses in much the same way as ladies-in-waiting, but won’t hold the traditional title and won’t quite fill the same role.
While Lady Booke’s role as the Queen’s companion marks a new generation of her family in the Royal Household, Lady Susan’s time with the Royal Family has come to an end.
At the violence against women reception held at Buckingham Palace yesterday afternoon, Ngozi Fulani told the Mirror she was subjected to “prolonged racism” during her conversation with Lady Susan Hussey.
She said, “It was like an interrogation. This wasn’t just a few seconds, it was coordinated over several minutes. It felt, as three black women, that we were intruders, that we were not welcome or accepted as British.’
In response to the allegations, Buckingham Palace said: ‘We take this incident extremely seriously and have immediately investigated to establish all details. In this case, unacceptable and very regrettable comments have been made.
“We have contacted Ngozi Fulani on this matter and invite her to personally discuss all elements of her experience if she wishes.
‘In the meantime, the person concerned would like to offer her deep apologies for the pain caused and has resigned her honorary position with immediate effect.
“All household members are reminded of the diversity and inclusion policies they must uphold at all times.”