Buckingham has an ‘institutional racism’ problem, says UK charity boss

  • Ngozi Fulani has said she was racially questioned by a member of royal staff while at Buckingham Palace.
  • The incident reportedly took place during an event at the palace on Tuesday.
  • She said the Palace’s problem with racism is “institutional” and needs to be addressed further.

Buckingham Palace has an “institutional racism” problem, according to the black charity worker who said she was subjected to relentless questioning about her heritage by a member of royal staff at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday.

Ngozi Fulani, the founder of the domestic violence charity Sistah Space, was one of the guests invited to the palace for an event overseen by Camilla, Queen Consort, calling for an end to violence against women. During the event, The Fulani tweeted that a member of royal staff whom she identified as ‘Lady SH’ asked her where she was ‘really from’.

On Wednesday, Buckingham Palace confirmed that ‘unacceptable and deeply regrettable comments’ had been made and that the staff member had resigned from his honorary post.

Mandu Reid, leader of Britain’s Women’s Equality Party, told BBC News she witnessed the ‘offensive, racist and unwelcoming’ questioning Fulani received and identified Lady Susan Hussey as the person who made the comments. Hussey was a lady-in-waiting to the late Queen Elizabeth II and later served Camilla before handing in her resignation, reports Mikhaila Friel of Insider.

But Fulani is calling for further action and said the comments were just one example of an “institutional racism” problem faced by the palace.

Speaking to Nadine White of The Independent, she said the experience she had had was “bigger than an individual. It’s institutional racism”.

“This incident is unfortunate and shows that nothing has changed,” Fulani added. “As a black person, I found myself in this place where I wanted to say something but what happened would automatically be considered my fault, it would bring Sistah Space down. It would be ‘oh, she has a chip on the shoulder.'”

She also said she would be willing to have her charity oversee anti-racism training at Buckingham Palace to ensure diversity and inclusion policies are adhered to. “It was this very training that got us the invite in the first place, so it’s ironic that the thing we’re fighting for is for me,” she said.

In another interview on BBC Radio 4, Fulani again underlined the irony of the incident at an event organized to draw attention to violence against women.

“I really have to wonder how this can happen in a space that is supposed to protect women from all kinds of violence,” she said. “While it’s not physical violence, it is abuse.”

Buckingham Palace and representatives for Ngozi Fulani did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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