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BBC: A meeting at Buckingham Palace turned into a reputational disaster for the royal family

1-12-2022 |

It should have been a positive occasion, with Camilla, the Queen Consort, inviting about 300 guests to Buckingham Palace to support her campaign against domestic violence.

But a black British charity boss who was repeatedly asked where she was "really" from by Prince William's godmother Lady Susan Hussey has told the BBC the encounter was an "abuse".

Ms Fulani likened the conversation with Lady Hussey, 83, to "an interrogation".

What turned the conversation into such a car crash was the apparent unwillingness to accept a black woman's response that she was from Britain - with the questioning assuming she must really be from elsewhere.

And what makes it so toxic is that it once again raises difficult questions about the Royal Family and their ability to reflect a diverse modern Britain.

The subjects of race and racism and inclusion and diversity have become very difficult territory for the royals - particularly after suggestions by Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, of prejudice within the Royal Family and Royal Household.

The palace described the remarks as "unacceptable and deeply regrettable" and Lady Hussey resigned and apologised on Wednesday following the incident at the royal reception.

Ms Fulani, who founded domestic violence charity Sistah Space, rebuffed suggestions that Lady Hussey's remarks were linked to her age.

"Let us be clear what this is. I've heard so many suggestions it's about her age and stuff like that, and I think that's kind of a disrespect - an ageism kind of thing," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"If you invite people to an event, against domestic abuse, and there are people there from different demographics, I don't see the relevance of whether I'm British or not British.

"You're trying to make me unwelcome in my own space."

She continued: "I have to really question how this can happen in a space that's supposed to protect women against all kinds of violence.

"Although it's not physical violence - it is an abuse."

Speaking to the BBC, Ms Fulani said she wanted the focus to remain on domestic abuse survivors and not the resignation of Lady Hussey.

Asked if shedid not play a part in the resignation andwould have preferred to accept Lady Hussey's apology instead of seeing her quit the royal household, Ms Fulani said: "I would have preferred it did not happen."

Source: BBC