A Buckingham Palace official has resigned after she allegedly asked a black guest where she “really came from.”
The late Queen Elizabeth II’s lady-in-waiting, Susan Hussey, made the remarks during an event that took place at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday, per the BBC. The publication noted that she asked the background question of charity founder Ngozi Fulani.
Fulani said she was “totally stunned” by Hussey’s comments. The 83-year-old former royal official is Prince William’s godmother.
A spokesperson for Prince William said “racism has no place in our society” and called the comments “unacceptable,” saying that “it is right that the individual has stepped aside with immediate effect.”
Eyewitness Mandu Reid, who is leader of the Women’s Equality Party, told BBC News that she found the comments by Hussey to be “offensive, racist and unwelcoming.” She also recalled having a “sense of incredulity” upon hearing the question.
“We take this incident extremely seriously and have investigated immediately to establish the full details,” Buckingham Palace shared in a statement.
“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,” the statement 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.”
Fulani was attending the reception at Buckingham Palace as a representative of London-based charity Sistah Space, which supports African and Caribbean women who have experienced domestic and sexual abuse, the publication noted.
This isn’t the first time the royal family and employees have been accused of racist behavior. Former senior working royal Meghan Markle, who is half black, claimed during an interview with Oprah Winfrey that a royal family member had questioned what skin tone her children would have.
Markle said that individual expressed “concerns” over her son Archie’s skin tone and “how dark the baby’s going to be potentially and what that would mean or look like.”
Prince Harry corroborated his wife’s story but refused to identify which person made the statements. “That conversation I’m never going to share,” Harry said.