William and Kate, Prince and Princess of Wales, begin US trip under cloud of palace racism furore

London – As Prince and Princess of Wales, William and Kate visit the United States – their first royal trip since Queen Elizabeth II died in september – a racist incident The inclusion of a member of the royal household at a reception at Buckingham Palace is overshadowing his visit.

royal couple reached In boston It comes just hours after William’s godmother, who was a lady-in-waiting to the Queen for 60 years, resigned as a palace aide following an inquiry into a black woman who heads a domestic violence charity. Ngozi Fulani was attending an event at Buckingham Palace and was repeatedly asked to explain where she “really” was from.

Fulani, leading domestic violence service provider based in London systeh spaceThe 83-year-old shared an account of his exchange with Lady Susan Hussey on Twitter, which went viral. Fulani told CBS News partner network BBC News that it was “abuse”.

“The first thing she does is she takes my hair and moves it out of the way so she can see my name badge. It was a surprise. And then she asks me where I’m from. am. Now, because this is an environment where we’re against domestic abuse, I think she’s going to ask me what agency or what charity I’m from, so I said Sista Space. ‘No, where are you from? ?’ That’s why I say, ‘Hackney’ (an area of ​​London). It goes on for a while.’

Fulani said Hussey continued to ask him where he was from for about five minutes, not accepting London or the UK as an answer.

Lady Susan Hussey, Baroness Hussey of North Bradley (then a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth II) attends a service of thanksgiving for the life of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at Westminster Abbey on March 29, 2022 in London, England Huh. ,

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

“At that point, I’m thinking to myself, is it really—because she keeps asking me the same question—could it be that she can’t hear me well enough? Because when you’re talking So you have to consider a lot of things for someone who may be older than you… But it came to me very quickly that it has nothing to do with his ability to understand, but it has to do with his effort that I would actually discredit my British citizenship. I never did, I mean, there all three of us stood completely stunned,” Fulani told the BBC. “I really have to question how this can happen in a space that is supposed to protect women from all forms of violence … Although it is not physical violence, it is an abuse.”

One of the witnesses to the exchange was Mandu Reid, head of Britain’s Women’s Equality Party, who said it was indicative of a wider problem within the monarchy.

,[Hussey] Has been a royal aide in the house for 60 years. So really, that’s a pretty good barometer of that institution. Reid told the BBC’s Newsnight programme, “It was quite normal for him to greet and join us in that way.” “She had no self-awareness. She didn’t respond to any of the signals we were giving about how uncomfortable this was making us. I think that shows we’re talking about an institutional problem.” “

A spokesman for Prince William and Kate condemned the exchange, saying that “racism has no place in our society. The comments were unacceptable, and it is fitting that the individual has stepped aside with immediate effect.”

Buckingham Palace said in a statement that they “take this incident extremely seriously and have immediately launched an investigation to establish the full details. In this instance, unacceptable and extremely regrettable comments have been made. have reached out to, and are inviting them to discuss all elements of their experience in person if they so desire. In the meantime, would like to express our deepest apologies for the injury caused to the individual concerned and with immediate effect have stepped down from honorary roles. All members of the household are being reminded of the diversity and inclusivity policies that need to be upheld at all times.”

Reid said that it was not enough that Hussey had resigned from his position, as the problem of racism within the British monarchy was more than just one person.

“I think, in a way, zooming in on the person in question, Lady Susan, it reminds me of that bad apple approach to dealing with issues like this… ‘Let’s make it some kind of different. Try to frame it as an event,” Reid said. “Well, actually, look at Meghan’s account. Meghan herself said his experiences in the royal household Brought him to the brink of suicide. Now, we were only in this meeting for one afternoon. We spent a few hours there, and it really made an impression on me and it made an impression on Ngozi. Imagine dealing with that day in and day out.”

The Prince and Princess of Wales attended a ceremony at Boston City Hall on Wednesday night before watching a Celtics game. On Thursday, he visits a climate change technology incubator and on Friday, he will award more than $1 million in awards to entrepreneurs trying to tackle climate change, CBS News’ Ben Tracy reports. The White House has confirmed that the couple will also meet with President Joe Biden later this week.

Roya Nikkha, royal editor for Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper, told Tracey: “It’s been a really important few days for the Welsh to get their message across about what the royal family is all about.” She said that the incident at the palace “wasn’t a helpful start to this visit. I think they will try very hard to take the conversation forward over the next few days.”

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