RICHARD KAY: It’s time for the Palace to give Lady Susan Hussey back her job!


If she were not a loyal and upright woman with a strong Christian ethic (Lady Susan Hussey attends church regularly and is well liked by her parishioners), it would surely have been a moment of considerable personal gratification.

Amid all the poisonous ramblings of Prince Harry’s ITV interview, there was a surprising intervention: He cleared Lady Susan of racism. In late November, the late Queen’s much-loved lady-in-waiting found herself at the center of a fiery social media storm over comments she allegedly made at a reception at Buckingham Palace.

In the ensuing furor, Lady Susan resigned from her position after being accused by a guest of racially insulting her.

Not a word passed his lips after he ‘chose to step aside’, so it’s a fair bet that Lady Susan will be equally speechless about Harry’s bombastic gesture in his interview that he and Meghan are fans. from the Count’s 83-year-old daughter who faithfully served her grandmother for over 60 years.

Buckingham Palace declared a reconciliation between Lady Susan Hussey (left) and Ngozi Fulani (right), founder of the charity Sistah Space, who was repeatedly asked where she was ‘really’ from

Lady Susan, of course, would never stoop to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s grievance agenda. So how she has reacted to this so-called olive branch is a matter of conjecture.

Yet it’s tempting to wonder why Harry should choose to offer this unforeseen endorsement to Lady Susan when at the time of his alleged breach five weeks ago, he and his wife were curiously silent about the woman he now claims to describe as ‘Excellent’.

Many will suspect that the reality of the situation has more to do with her war of attrition with her brother than with feelings of comradeship for an elderly courtier whose offers to help the American-born duchess adjust to palace life are remembered. for being unanswered.

Friends tell me that Lady Susan was 'absolutely devastated' by what happened last month.  Pictured: Richard Kay

Friends tell me that Lady Susan was ‘absolutely devastated’ by what happened last month. Pictured: Richard Kay

Because it was Prince William, or at least a spokesman on his behalf, who effectively branded Lady Susan, his own godmother, a racist, describing her comments as ‘unacceptable’ while declaring that it was ‘right’ that she had ‘shut away’ immediate effect’. So what an opportunity for Harry to emphasize the chasm that has opened between himself and William by unleashing such lavish praise on a Palace stalwart who had fallen victim to his brother’s seemingly despotic treatment.

Purring with self-righteous delight, Harry said how “happy” he was that Ngozi Fulani, the charity worker in the center of the row, had been invited to the Palace last month to sit down with Lady Susan “to reconcile, because Meghan and I love Susan Hussey, she thinks she’s great.’ He added: ‘And I also know what she meant: she never meant to do any harm at all.’

The dispute that erupted began only after the British-born Ms Fulani, of Caribbean descent, detailed the conversation in which Lady Susan repeatedly asked her where she was “really” from on Twitter. Her post about the trade went viral and Lady Susan was left without a job.

Harry, however, characteristically chose not to accept this version of events and blamed the press for putting the matter in the public domain, telling ITV’s Tom Bradby: “The response from the British press and people in line because of the stories they wrote was…absolutely horrific. Putting aside the prince’s travesty of what really happened, Harry unexpectedly offered Buckingham Palace a chance to do the right thing. Because if Montecito’s big anti-racist activists can defend Susan Hussey, then surely the Palace should be big enough to admit that it acted too rashly and reinstate her.

Lady Susan would never stoop to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's grievance agenda

Lady Susan would never stoop to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s grievance agenda

At this time there was considerable murmur, both within and without the royal household, that Lady Susan had been treated unfairly, even grotesquely. Her decades of free and faultless service were ignored.

There was no apparent attempt to put into context Ms Fulani’s account of her conversation with the tactful and imperturbable former lady-in-waiting, now quite deaf, who had spent her entire life navigating official receptions at the late Queen’s side in everyone. In fact, it was due to her considerable experience, and her ability as a trusted familiar confidante to her, that Lady Susan was invited to continue in her role with Queen Consort Camilla.

Colleagues and friends of Palace’s veteran operator contacted me to express their anger and shock at the damage that had been done to their reputation. The most repeated comment was that Lady Susan had been ‘thrown under a bus’. Others spoke of ‘political correctness run amok’ and ‘massive overreaction’.

On one thing everyone agreed: that the woman who came to help the Queen with her mail after the birth of Prince Andrew in 1960 and never left, did not have a racist bone in her body. Where, they wondered, was the duty of care and compassion shown to Hussey? “It seemed to us that she was being sentenced for showing interest in someone’s background and engaging in conversation,” a senior figure said.

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Harry said how “happy” he was that Ngozi Fulani, the charity worker in the center of the queue, had been invited to the Palace last month to sit down with Lady Susan “to reconcile”.

“Sue has always been so good with people, making them feel comfortable when most are really nervous about meeting royalty,” a courtier told me. “She has met people of all races and stripes and the idea that she would be provocatively racist, as the transcript seems to suggest, is for the birds.”

He scrupulously devoted himself to the monarchy. Once, at a garden party, Prince Philip chided her after he felt he had spent too much time talking to me while we gossiped over a cup of tea about a builder we both hired. When I saw her again, he said that she had been “scolded”.

Perhaps the Palace’s reaction to their reported conversation was understandable in light of the toxic atmosphere around race generated by Harry and Meghan. Since her explosive claims to Oprah Winfrey in 2021 that an anonymous royal had raised questions about the skin color her son Archie might have as a mixed-race child, the Palace has been on the alert about allegations of racism.

Perhaps William’s intervention, prompted by fears that such a damaging dispute would overshadow his and Kate’s impending visit to the US, was unwise. But if the Palace was frightened into acting quickly, does it not owe Lady Susan the chance to be restored to her position, and just as immediately?

Friends tell me that Lady Susan was ‘absolutely devastated’ by what happened last month, especially as she was horrified that she had upset the institution she had served so staunchly.

Despite feeling “bruised and raw”, she agreed to a Palace-orchestrated initiative with Ms. Fulani in which she offered her “sincere apologies”. For her part, Ms Fulani, who runs the London-based anti-domestic abuse charity Sistah Space, said she accepted the apology and accepted that “there was no malicious intent”.

A photograph of the two women reunited was also published. After the apology, it emerged that Lady Susan had been guest-listed to attend the King’s Coronation in May. Increasingly, it seemed that the decision to dump the octogenarian into the royal desert was unfair and unfair.

Now, Harry has serendipitously cleared the last remaining hurdle to allow Lady Susan to return to her role. But will she take it?

If such an invitation arrives, surely few would blame her if she decided that thanks anyway, she’d rather not.