A Black charity boss who attended an event hosted by Queen Consort Camilla said she was left “traumatized” after a Buckingham Palace aide appeared to push her to answer questions about her ancestry. The questions the aide asked included, “Where in Africa are you from?”
According to The Independent, Ngozi Fulani, who is the founder and CEO of Sistah Space, was on Tuesday attending the Violence Against Women and Girls reception when the encounter happened. Sistah Space is said to be the foremost domestic abuse charity for Black women in Britain. Fulani labeled the palace aide’s comments as “insulting.” The aide’s utterances were also deemed racially offensive.
In the wake of the incident, Fulani took to Twitter to share her experience at the Buckingham Palace event, saying she was left having “mixed feelings”. Prior to engaging her, Fulani said the aide first moved her dreadlocked hair to see her name badge.
In the transcript of what Fulani said was their conversation, the aide initially asked her, “Where are you from?” And when Fulani replied saying, “Sistah Space”, the aide’s response was, “No where do you come from?”
“We’re based in Hackney,” Fulani said. “No, what part of Africa are you from?” the aide reportedly asked in the transcript. “I don’t know, they didn’t leave any records,” Fulani responded. The aide then went ahead to ask Fulani, “Where do you really come from, where do your people come from?”, seemingly doubting Fulani is British, per The Independent.
“Oh, I can see I am going to have a challenge getting you to say where you’re from. When did you first come here?” the aide also asked, per the transcript. “Lady! I am a British national, my parents came here in the 50s when…” Fulani responded before the aide supposedly interjected saying, “Oh, I knew we’d get there in the end, you’re Caribbean!”
“No lady, I am of African heritage, Caribbean descent and British nationality,” Fulani told the aide. The transcript ended with the aide saying, “Oh so you’re from…”
Mixed feelings about yesterday’s visit to Buckingham Palace. 10 mins after arriving, a member of staff, Lady SH, approached me, moved my hair to see my name badge. The conversation below took place. The rest of the event is a blur.— Sistah Space (@Sistah_Space) November 30, 2022
Thanks @ManduReid & @SuzanneEJacob for support???????? pic.twitter.com/OUbQKlabyq
Touching on the conversation, Fulani said: “I think it is essential to acknowledge that trauma has occurred and being invited and then insulted has caused much damage.”
“It was such a struggle to stay in a space that you were violated in. Yesterday made me realise an ugly truth which I am still trying to process.”
Fulani told The Independent that the conversation was also overhead by two other women. She said they were “stunned to temporary silence”.
The Women’s Equality Party leader, Mandu Reid, replied to Fulani’s tweet saying that she was “right there” and “witnessed” the exchange “firsthand.” “We were at an event that was supposed to celebrate our work. For people like Lady SH, people like us will never really belong here,” she added.
I was right there. I witnessed this firsthand.— Mandu Reid (@ManduReid) November 30, 2022
We were at an event that was supposed to celebrate our work.
For people like Lady SH, people like us will never really belong here.
Infinite solidarity @Sistah_Space.
In a statement, Buckingham Palace said the aide has since resigned. “We take this incident extremely seriously and have investigated immediately to establish the full details,” the statement said.
“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.”