Camilla, the Queen Consort, hosted a reception yesterday at Buckingham Palace as part of the United Nations’ 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. Camilla was joined by four other royal women: Queen Rania of Jordan, Queen Mathilde of Belgium, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, and the First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska was there too.
Needless to say, at an event like this, the point is to keep the focus on the messaging. As Camilla said in her remarks:
"We are united today to confront what has rightly been called a global pandemic of violence against women."
Just a quick aside here, because my pet peeve just showed up: it’s the expression “global pandemic”, which is redundant but definitely more dramatic and that’s why it’s become ubiquitous. Sometimes the elite English aren’t necessarily the best at speaking English. And on a related note…
Even though I’ve now gone off of Camilla’s message, that tracks too because what’s viral isn’t her intended message but something else that went down at the event. See the tweet below, open it up for the second slide which is a text image of the conversation that took place:
Mixed feelings about yesterday's visit to Buckingham Palace. 10 mins after arriving, a member of staff, Lady SH, approached me, moved my hair to see my name badge. The conversation below took place. The rest of the event is a blur.— Sistah Space (@Sistah_Space) November 30, 2022
Thanks @ManduReid & @SuzanneEJacob for supportðŸ™ðŸ¾ pic.twitter.com/OUbQKlabyq
As Omid Scobie explains:
Ngozi Fulani is the founder of @Sistah_Spaceâ€”an award winning non-profit supporting women and families affected by domestic abuse while ensuring cultural factors are considered and understood. This is her experience at Tuesday's Buckingham Palace gender-based violence reception: https://t.co/XV7IjGmFJB— Omid Scobie (@scobie) November 30, 2022
Lady SH is Lady Susan Hussey, known during Queen Elizabeth’s time as Her Majesty’s “most loyal lady-in-waiting”. She is 83 years old, an aristocrat (obviously), here she is earlier this year:
This is who Ngozi Fulani is referring to when she describes the racist interaction she had yesterday with a VERY senior aide who kept pressing her to tell her where she’s from – because in Lady Susan Hussey’s eyes, English people don’t look like Ngozi. Lady Hussey’s definition of being English does not include Ngozi.
And that’s the kind of person repping the British monarchy at an event to raise awareness for gender-based violence. But now an update:
Buckingham Palace confirm that the Queen's former Lady-in-Waiting, Lady Susan Hussey, has stepped aside from her new role as a lady of the royal household "with immediate effect". They add that she "would like to express her profound apologies for the hurt caused".— Omid Scobie (@scobie) November 30, 2022
So the Palace has dealt swiftly – THIS TIME – with Lady Susan who will no longer be part of the entourage. But Lady Susan’s been around forever and she literally just got that position a few days ago when King Charles decided to keep her in the fold, naming her a Lady of the Household. Which is why she was at yesterday’s reception to begin with. Let’s be clear, she was a FAVOURITE of the Queen. And she is Prince William’s godmother. So she’s not new. For many years, even decades, she would have wielded a certain amount of power and influence.
Now consider that she was asked to give advice to both Princess Diana and Meghan Markle. Rumour has it, a few years ago, before Meghan and Prince Harry were married, Lady Susan was at a lunch with a some theatre executives who were discussing whether or not Meghan would get the National Theatre patronage. To which she allegedly replied, to a GROUP OF OUTSIDERS:
“That will all end in tears. Mark my words.”
Well…that doesn’t seem all that supportive, let alone not all discreet, which is the whole f-cking point of this secret society of ladies and gents with their titles and medals. And Charles STILL kept her on until he and Camilla were forced today to quit her.
Lady Susan had the temerity to do a racism at an official engagement – imagine the sh-t she has been pulling and getting away with in private? And the sh-t that Meghan Markle would have had to put up with?
So, no, nobody is getting flowers here for how this has been handled. I see some people are rushing to be all like, oh, at least they dealt with it swiftly. Did they though? Because check it:
Excl: Ngozi Fulani tells me she hasn't heard from palace/received apology after resignation of aide who made racially offensive remarks. Also:— Nadine White. (@Nadine_Writes) November 30, 2022
- Says incident evidence of racism in royal family
- Calls for anti-racism training to be rolled out across royal households
The palace came out and said that Lady Susan had been exited and that they’ve reached out to Ngozi Fulani. Ngozi, however, has not actually heard from them. Which means that Buckingham Palace chose optics over humanity, they chose to release their statement BEFORE actually speaking to the person who had been racialised. That tells you everything about their priorities.