While Ngozi Fulani was overwhelmingly believed when she described Susan Hussey’s racist interrogation, be aware that there is already a campaign underway to protect, excuse and normalize Hussey’s racism. Right-wing commentators and journalists are already using racist dog-whistles to describe Fulani and suggest that her victimization was nothing more than a misunderstanding, or perhaps that Fulani was engaged in some form of disrespect or elder abuse. That’s all horsesh-t. Fulani is the victim here, full stop. Still, it’s fascinating to watch Camilla Tominey tie herself in knots to praise the Windsors for their “ruthlessness” in pushing out Hussey, all while whitesplaining how Hussey’s racism isn’t that bad, actually. We see you, Tominey.
Ruthless royals: The speed with which Buckingham Palace dealt with Lady Susan Hussey speaks to a ruthless efficiency that has helped the monarchy to endure for more than a thousand years. One of Britain’s leading noblewomen, Lady Hussey had served the Crown since Prince Andrew’s birth in 1960 and received the Elizabeth II version of the Royal Household Long and Faithful Service Medal with 30, 40, 50 and 60-year bars. Yet having attended literally thousands of royal engagements over the past six decades, it was a solitary encounter with black British charity director Ngozi Fulani on Tuesday night that proved to be the formidable 83-year-old’s undoing.
Royal lessons have been learned: The similarly “immediate” nature of the palace’s investigation, along with its statement confirming that “in this instance, unacceptable and deeply regrettable comments have been made” suggest lessons have indeed been learned from the mistakes of the past – regardless of what royal detractors might say. The palace spokesman even appeared to channel Harry and Meghan in insisting “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 Windsors have been making an effort to use POCs as props post-Sussexit: Having made efforts to be more diverse and inclusive since Harry and Meghan dropped their Oprah bombshell, including ensuring that the royals interact with a wide range of people from different backgrounds on engagements, this is the last thing The Firm needed. The timing could not have been worse, either, having overshadowed both the Queen Consort’s worthy initiative to honour those campaigning against domestic abuse and violence against women and William and Kate’s three day trip to Boston.
“Anglo-American royal relations”: With last year’s tour of the Caribbean having been marred by another race row, the couple and their aides had been hoping this week’s US charm offensive would reset the dial on Anglo-American royal relations, not least with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex about to unleash a new Netflix documentary, and Harry’s autobiography, Spare.
Charles & Camilla sent their private secretaries to speak with Hussey: The awkwardness of the situation perhaps explains why it was left to private secretaries Sir Clive Alderton and Sir Edward Young to speak to Lady Hussey – although the King and Queen Consort “were made fully aware of the circumstances and were fully aware of the outcome”. According to a royal source, this would have been standard practice: “The principals wouldn’t have been directly involved, and you wouldn’t have ladies-in-waiting dealt with by the HR department so it would have come down to the private secretaries.”
LMAO: Denying the incident was “symptomatic of a wider malaise”, another palace insider stressed that “diversity and inclusivity lie at the heart of everything we do”, adding: “You’ll have seen some of the work His Majesty has done in this area which has been of enormous benefit – he cares passionately and deeply about diversity and inclusion, not only within his own household and wider world. It’s also deeply regrettable that all the brilliant work the Queen Consort has done in a very important area, culminating in Tuesday night’s reception at Buckingham Palace, has been overshadowed.”
Susan Hussey’s dignity ahead of Ngozi Fulani’s dignity: Some may argue that as a long-standing lady in waiting, and respected woman of her generation, not to mention one of Elizabeth II’s closest confidantes, Lady Hussey had earned the right to be treated with a degree of dignity. As one former aide pointed out, she had no contract of employment and wouldn’t have been paid for more than half a century of royal service. “If the narrative is correct it just sounds completely out of character,” they added. “I’ve genuinely never ever heard her express anything remotely offensive but what she is alleged to have said clearly is offensive.”
“Yet having attended literally thousands of royal engagements over the past six decades, it was a solitary encounter…” That’s just it, no one believes it was a solitary encounter, we believe that this has happened thousands of times in different ways for decades, and this was merely the rare encounter in which the victim publicized the interaction. The problem is not that Hussey’s “encounter” was an outlier or an exception It’s that everyone in the royal orbit is like this, to the point where the Windsors have needed to make the EFFORT to “be more diverse and inclusive since Harry and Meghan dropped their Oprah bombshell.” As in, it’s only in the past two years that the Windsors and their people have used people of color as props to prove that the Sussexes were lying about the racism experienced by Meghan. And what’s worse is that the royals and their press machine really think that they’re making some kind of point here.
Personally, I find it appalling that Camilla and Charles sent their private secretaries to deal with Hussey. That offends me – Hussey was appointed to some fancy new emeritus position by King Charles and Camilla invited Hussey to the Tuesday reception. Surely they could deal with their old friend face-to-face? Something that keeps coming up, over and over: the lack of managerial skill within the family and those they employ.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images, Fulani’s social media.