Who is Lady Susan Hussey and why did the former lady-in-waiting step down?

Lady Susan Hussey, a former lady-in-waiting, has stepped down following a controversy that involved racially charged comments

Lady Susan Hussey
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Lady Susan Hussey, the Queen's former lady-in-waiting, has stepped down from her royal position following comments made at a palace engagement.

The Queen’s lady-in-waiting Lady Susan Hussey has announced that she will be stepping down from her royal role. 

Lady Susan has worked for the royals since 1960, but an announcement from Buckingham Palace said that her recent behavior and comments were 'unacceptable and deeply regrettable.' 

Lady Susan Hussey

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo / Contributor / Getty Images)

What is the controversy involving Lady Susan Hussey?

On November 30, the Queen consort, Camilla, hosted a Violence Against Women and Girls reception at Buckingham Palace

Camilla was joined by Sophie Wessex, the First Lady of Ukraine, the First Lady of Sierra Leone, Queen Mathilde of Belgium, Queen Rania of Jordan, and the Crown Princess Mary of Denmark for this incredibly important event.

Among the guests was Ngozi Fulani, of Sistah Space, Britain’s leading domestic abuse charity for Black women. Lady Susan Hussey was among members of staff at the royal engagement and spoke with the charity leader. 

Ngozi revealed in a tweet after the event that she was asked racially charged questions by the former lady-in-waiting as she questioned where exactly she came from and what her 'nationality' was.

Speaking to the Independent after the engagement, the activist said, "I was in shock after it happened and anybody who knows me, knows I don’t take this kind of nonsense."

Ngozi added, "But I had to consider so many things. As a Black person, I found myself in this place where I wanted to say something but what happened would automatically be seen as my fault, it would bring Sistah Space down. It would be ‘oh, she has a chip on her shoulder’.There are so many things to consider before you can even react to the pain of racism. Can you imagine? I’m just processing the incident.”

The Sistah Space founder added, "This is bigger than one individual. It’s institutional racism. What’s the lesson here? When I drove into the palace, the car was searched and we were searched, as you would expect, because they have to protect the household. But what protects us, Black people, from that treatment? This incident is unfortunate and shows that nothing has changed."

Lady Susan Hussey

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo / Contributor / Getty Images)

What has the Royal Family said about the Lady Susan Hussey controversy?

Buckingham Palace announced that following this incident, Lady Hussey had stepped down. The statement read, "We take this incident extremely seriously and have investigated immediately to establish the full details."

"In this instance, unacceptable and deeply regrettable comments have been made. 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."

"In the meantime, the individual concerned would like to express her profound apologies for the hurt caused and has stepped aside from her honorary role with immediate effect."

"All members of the household are being reminded of the diversity and inclusivity policies which they are required to uphold at all times," concluded the statement.

The Prince of Wales is currently in Boston, but a statement was released on his behalf. "Racism has no place in our society," said a spokesperson for Prince William said. "The comments were unacceptable, and it is right that the individual has stepped aside with immediate effect."

Lady Susan Hussey

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Who is Lady Susan Hussey?

Lady Hussey is Prince William's godmother and a close member of the royal household. Lady Susan has been a friend and companion to the late Queen Elizabeth II since 1960, when she was employed as the Queen’s Woman of the Bedchamber. 

Reportedly, the Baroness was initially employed to respond to letters after Prince Andrew was born and was affectionately dubbed as the 'Number one head girl' in the office. Until the Queen's death, Lady Susan was her right-hand woman and was at her side to accompany Her Majesty to Prince Philip's funeral in 2021.

Lady Susan Hussey

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Lady Susan was made a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in the 2013 Birthday honors. This is the highest rank personally granted by the sovereign. This honor was bestowed on the late Prince Philip, Camilla, the Queen consort, Catherine, the Princess of Wales, and the Countess of Wessex.

Following the Queen's death, Lady Susan was appointed to Lady of the Household. This is the role that Lady Susan Hussey has now stepped down from as of November 30, 2022.

Laura Harman

Laura is the Entertainment Editor for woman&home who primarily covers television, film, and celebrity news. Laura loves drinking and eating and can often be found trying to get reservations at London's trendiest restaurants. When she's not wining and dining, Laura can also be found travelling, baking, and hiking with her dog.