(LONDON) — Prince William’s godmother apologized in-person Friday to the woman who accused her of making racist remarks at a reception at Buckingham Palace last month.
Lady Susan Hussey, a longtime lady-in-waiting to the late Queen Elizabeth II, offered her “sincere apologies” to Ngozi Fulani, Buckingham Palace said in a statement.
“At this meeting, filled with warmth and understanding, Lady Susan offered her sincere apologies for the comments that were made and the distress they caused to Ms Fulani,” the statement said. “Lady Susan has pledged to deepen her awareness of the sensitivities involved and is grateful for the opportunity to learn more about the issues in this area.”
The palace said that Fulani “has accepted this apology and appreciates that no malice was intended.”
King Charles III and Queen Camila, as well as other royal family members are aware of the meeting and “pleased that both parties have reached this welcome outcome,” according to the palace.
Fulani, the CEO and founder of Sistah Space, a London-based nonprofit organization that supports women and families affected by domestic abuse, was an attendee at a palace reception hosted by Camilla on Nov. 29.
In a viral Twitter thread posted after the reception, Fulani, a British national, claimed Hussey made racist comments to her upon being introduced.
“What part of Africa are you from?” Fulani recalled Hussey asking her, according to her tweet.
Fulani said that when she replied she was from the United Kingdom, Hussey continued to question her, saying, “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?”
Fulani, who was at the palace for a reception on combatting violence against women, one of Camilla’s main charitable interests, wrote that she had “mixed feelings” about her visit to the palace, saying that after her conversation with Hussey, the “rest of the event [was] a blur.”
“I know when someone’s asking me a question because they’re interested and when someone’s asking me a question because there’s a motive at the end,” Fulani told ABC News Live in a Dec. 2 interview. “This is about her feeling comfortable that I can’t claim my British citizenship.”
The day after the reception, Buckingham Palace confirmed Hussey had “stepped aside from her honorary role” with the palace.
Hussey was one of Elizabeth’s longest-serving ladies-in-waiting, an honorary role that serves as a kind of personal assistant to the queen.
Camilla, who became queen consort after Elizabeth’s death in September, did away with the lady-in-waiting role, instead choosing to have lady companions, one of whom is Hussey’s daughter.
In the new statement released Friday, the palace said efforts will be made to “focus on inclusion and diversity” moving forward.
“The Royal Households will continue their focus on inclusion and diversity, with an enhanced programme of work which will extend knowledge and training programmes, examining what can be learnt from Sistah Space, and ensuring these reach all members of their communities,” the palace said. “Both Ms Fulani and Lady Susan ask now that they be left in peace to rebuild their lives in the wake of an immensely distressing period for them both.”
The palace added that the two women “hope that their example shows a path to resolution can be found with kindness, co-operation and the condemnation of discrimination wherever it takes root.”
William, Hussey’s godson and heir to the throne, has not spoken publicly about the incident, which occurred as he and Kate, the princess of Wales, were traveling to Boston for the Earthshot Prize awards ceremony.
A spokesman for William commented on the incident while briefing reporters ahead of the Waleses’ trip, saying, “This is a matter for Buckingham Palace, but as the Prince of Wales’ spokesperson, I appreciate you’re all here and understand you’ll want to ask about it. So let me address it head on. I was really disappointed to hear about the guest’s experience at Buckingham Palace last night.”
He continued, “Obviously, I wasn’t there, but racism has no place in our society. The comments were unacceptable, and it is right that the individual has stepped aside with immediate effect.”
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