Charity suspends work over ‘safety concerns’ after founder’s racist incident with Prince William’s godmother

LONDON — A British charity led by a Black woman who says she was repeatedly pressed for information about her nationality by Prince William’s godmother, has suspended some its operations over safety concerns, it said Saturday.

Sistah Space, which provides support to domestic violence victims of African and Caribbean heritage in London, made the announcement in a post on Instagram stories.

“Unfortunately recent events meant that we were forced to temporarily cease many of our operations to ensure the safety of our service users and our teams,” it said. It was unclear what events the charity was referring to.

It added that the charity was “overwhelmed by the amount of support and encouragement and looks forward to fully reinstating as soon as safely possible.”

NBC News has approached Sistah Space for further comment.

The charity was thrust into the spotlight late last month after its founder, Ngozi Fulani, spoke out against a racist incident she had been subjected to during an event at Buckingham Palace hosted by Camilla, the Queen Consort.

She said a woman she identified as “Lady SH” had approached her and “moved my hair to see my name badge.”

Fulani said she was then peppered her with questions about her nationality and where she was “really from,” even as she explained that she was a British national.

Although Fulani and Sistah Space did not identify the person, Mandu Reid, the leader of the British Women’s Equality Party, who witnessed the exchange, on Thursday identified the person as Lady Susan Hussey, 83, Prince William’s godmother and a lady-in-waiting for the late Queen Elizabeth II.

Lady Susan Hussey.
Lady Susan Hussey.Max Mumby / Indigo/Getty Images file

Without naming Hussey, Buckingham Palace said in a statement shortly after the incident that an honorary member of the household had resigned after making “unacceptable and deeply regrettable comments.”

It added that “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.”

In a statement Monday, Fulani said that she had been attacked on social media for speaking out about her experience. 

“My team, family and I have been put under immense pressure and received some horrific abuse via social media,” the statement said. “Yet throughout this time I have been heartened by the huge amount of support we have received.” 

Shortly after the incident Fulani told NBC News that institutional racism was “a problem all over the U.K.,” and that Buckingham Palace needed to “review their whole policy on equality and race.”

The statement from Sistah Space came days after the release of a new docuseries released by Netflix about Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.

Released Thursday, “Harry and Meghan” touches on Britain’s history as the world’s largest empire — controlling swaths of Asia, Africa and the Americas — and seeks to link this legacy with the treatment of Meghan even before she married Harry, both by the media and the royals themselves.

The Sussexes’ media company, Archewell Productions, is listed as one of the three producers of the series in which Harry also suggests that members of his family have an “unconscious bias” against people of color. 

In a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey last March, the couple said that in the months leading up to the birth of their son, Archie, a royal insider expressed “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born.”

The couple did not specify who made the comments because that revelation would be “very damaging to them.”

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