On Tuesday, Nov. 29, the Queen Consort Camilla hosted a Violence Against Women and Girls reception at Buckingham Palace, where a number of people, organisations, and charities were invited to discuss the work being done to combat this form of violence. One such individual in attendance was Ngozi Fulani, the CEO of the domestic abuse charity, Sistah Space, which supports women of African and Caribbean heritage. Fulani has since opened up about a “violating” encounter she experienced during the event, and Buckingham Palace has now announced that the individual involved has resigned over “unacceptable and deeply regrettable comments.”
Fulani took to Twitter on Nov. 30 to highlight the racially offensive questions and comments she claims she was subjected to from an aide at the reception, sharing a transcript of the alleged conversation. In the social media post, Fulani said the royal aide moved her dreadlocked hair out of the way of her name badge, before asking questions about where she and “her people” were from. After the continued questioning of where Fulani was “really” from, the aide then reportedly said, “Oh, I can see I am going to have a challenge getting you to say where you’re from. When did you first come here?”
Of the exchange, Fulani told The Independent, “It was such a struggle to stay in a space that you were violated in. Yesterday made me realise an ugly truth which I am still trying to process.” Mandu Reid, leader of the Women’s Equality Party, was one of two witnesses to the comments made and tweeted: “I was right there. I witnessed this firsthand. We were at an event that was supposed to celebrate our work. For people like … people like us will never really belong here.”
A statement from Buckingham Palace read: “In this instance, 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. 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.”
Although Fulani initially posted the initials of the aide who questioned her, she has since said that she didn’t intend for the woman’s identity to be made public. Buckingham Palace did not identify the individual by name in its statement, and has yet to respond to Bustle’s request for comment. Although Ngozi — in interviews — has since identified the aide to be Lady Susan Hussey, Prince William’s godmother.
A Kensington Palace spokesperson, a member of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s press team, commented on the incident. “Racism has no place in our society,” the staffer told reporters, confirming they had spoken to Prince William about the matter. “The comments were unacceptable, and it is right that the individual has stepped aside with immediate effect.”
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