Lady Susan Hussey, the late Queen’s lady-in-waiting, resigned after she asked Ngozi Fulani, a prominent Black advocate for survivors of domestic abuse, where she “really came from”.
Buckingham Palace said it took the incident, at the Queen Consort’s reception on violence against women on Tuesday, “extremely seriously” and had investigated immediately.
Speaking to reporters in the US ahead of a visit by the Prince of Wales, a Kensington Palace spokesperson said: “This is a matter for Buckingham Palace but as the Prince of Wales spokesperson I appreciate you’re all here and understand you’ll want to ask about it, so let me address it head on.
“I was really disappointed to hear about the guest’s experience at Buckingham Palace last night.
“Obviously, I wasn’t there, but racism has no place in our society. The comments were unacceptable, and it is right that the individual has stepped aside with immediate effect.”
Ngozi Fulani, chief executive of Sistah Space, detailed the conversation on Twitter, describing it as a “violation” and said the experience will “never leave me”.
Lady Hussey, 83, is Prince William’s godmother. She was invited to and was on duty at the reception when she made the comments.
She has now stepped down from her honorary role as one of three Ladies of the Household, to which she was newly appointed to help the King at formal occasions.
Charles, who acceded to the throne less than three months ago, and Camilla have been made aware of the situation, the palace said.
Ms Fulani said she was challenged when she said her charity was based in Hackney, with “Lady SH” saying: “No, what part of Africa are YOU from?”