An honorary member of Buckingham Palace has resigned and apologized after a founder of a black charity said she was asked if she was really British at a royal reception on Tuesday.
The guest, Ngozi Fulani, is the CEO of Sistah_Space, an organization that provides specialized services to women of African and Caribbean descent who are victims of abuse.
Fulani was attending a royal event on domestic violence on Tuesday evening hosted by the Queen Consort when she said a staff member launched a series of questions the palace called “unacceptable and deeply regrettable.”
Sistah_Space shared a rough transcript of the conversation on Twitter on Wednesday. Fulani said that after identifying herself as British-born, the person asked her “where are you really from?” “where do your people come from;” and “when did you first come here?”
A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace acknowledged the incident and said the palace took the situation “extremely seriously”.
“Unacceptable and deeply regrettable comments have been made. We have reached out to Ngozi Fulani on this matter and invite her to personally discuss all elements of her experience if she wishes,” the spokesperson said.
“In the meantime, the person concerned would like to deeply apologize for the pain caused and has resigned from her honorary position with immediate effect.”
News of the encounter came to light as the Prince and Princess of Wales traveled to the US ahead of the second edition of the Earthshot Prize Awards later this week.
A spokesman for William said: “Racism has no place in our society, these comments were unacceptable. It is right that the person concerned has stepped down.”
The incident is likely to rekindle concerns that the palace is elitist and out of reach when it comes to issues of race and identity.
The palace has faced allegations of racist behavior in recent years, including when hiring staff decades ago and the treatment of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. A former counter-terrorism police chief said Tuesday that Meghan and Harry had faced “disgusting and very real” threats from right-wing extremists.
Meghan claimed in an interview with Oprah Winfrey last year that an unnamed relative made comments about the skin color of their unborn baby while she was pregnant with Archie.
prince william said later the royal family was “not a racist family at all”.