Who is Lady Susan Hussey? Prince William's godmother quits royal role over racist comments

WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 30:  Queen Elizabeth ll, accompanied by her lady-in-waiting, Lady Susan Hussey undertakes a walkabout to mark her Diamond Jubilee on April 30, 2012 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage)
Lady Susan Hussey was a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth II. (Getty Images)

Prince William's godmother has resigned over racist comments to a Black charity boss during a reception at Buckingham Palace. But who is Lady Susan Hussey?

Lady Susan, 83, was a close friend and companion to Queen Elizabeth II who was retained by King Charles as a member of the royal household following her death. She is also Prince William's godmother.

Ngozi Fulani, the CEO of domestic violence charity Sistah Space, revealed on Wednesday she had been asked seven times where she was from, despite answering that she is British.

Buckingham Palace have said they "take this incident extremely seriously" and that the comments were "unacceptable".

Prince William's spokesperson described the comments as "unacceptable" and said it was right the individual had "stepped aside".

Who is Lady Susan Hussey?

Lady Susan became one of Queen Elizabeth II's ladies-in-waiting in 1960 after Prince Andrew was born. Initially her job as 'women of the bedchamber' was to take care of the Queen's correspondence.

Over many decades Lady Susan became a core part of the late Queen's inner circle, so much so that she was one of only 30 attendees at the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral in 2021.

As social distancing restrictions were in place at that time, her presence highlighted the central role she played to the Queen and the Royal Family.

Lady Susan was most regularly seen in the background of royal events. As a close confidante and friend to the Queen, she was known as 'number one head girl'.

ASCOT, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 19: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by her racing manager John Warren and her lady-in-waiting Lady Susan Hussey , stands in the parade ring on day 5 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 19, 2021 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by her racing manager John Warren and her lady-in-waiting Lady Susan Hussey at Royal Ascot. (Getty Images)

Lady Susan's father was the 12th Earl of Waldegrave and she is the Baroness of North Bradley.

She married journalist Marmaduke Hussey in 1959 and had two children, son James and daughter Katherine. Her husband had senior roles at Associated Newspapers and Times Newspapers before becoming Chairman of the BBC in 1986. He died in 2006.

Katherine has recently been made one of the Queen Consort's 'companions' — reportedly a more modern and "informal" version of the lady-in-waiting role.

Lady-in-waiting is an unpaid position that is undertaken out of loyalty by women from the aristocracy or who are close with the monarch: either through family associations or individually.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 11: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Lady Susan Hussey (Lady in Waiting to Queen Elizabeth II and Godmother to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge) attend the annual Remembrance Sunday Service at the Cenotaph, Whitehall on November 11, 2012 in London, England. Remembrance Sunday tributes were carried out across the nation to pay respects to all who those who lost their lives in current and past conflicts, including the First and Second World Wars. (Photo by Indigo/Getty Images)
Lady Susan Hussey, right, attends the annual Remembrance Sunday Service at the Cenotaph, Whitehall with Kate and Sophie. (Getty Images)

After the death of Queen Elizabeth, King Charles made Lady Susan a King's Lady of the Household.

This was not the only honour that she received for her decades of service to the Royal Family.

Lady Susan was awarded the Dame Grand Cross of the Victorian Order in 2013.

The honour is the highest that can be given out by the monarch. Other recipients include the Queen Consort, the Princess of Wales and Sophie, the Countess of Wessex.

Lady Susan was also made one of Prince William's six godparents in 1982, alongside King Constantine of Greece amongst others.

WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 09:  The Official Portrait Of The Royal Family On The Day Of Prince William's Confirmation At Windsor Castle. Photo  Taken In The White Drawing Room. Left To Right Front - Prince Harry, Princess Diana, Prince William, Prince Charles, Queen. Left To Right Back - King Constantine, Lady Susan Hussey, Princess Alexandra, Duchess Of Westminster (Natalia Grosvenor) And Lord Romsey  (Photo by Tim Graham Picture Library/Getty Images)
Lady Susan Hussey at Prince William's cConfirmation, alongside family members and other godparents. (Getty Images)

During the COVID-19 lockdown, Lady Susan is said to have formed part of what has become known as the “HMS Bubble” – a group of 22 staff members who were designated to stay at Windsor Castle with the Queen during the lockdown.

While under restrictions, those specially chosen to be part of the bubble worked on a three-week shift basis.

Master of the Household Tony Johnstone-Burt, a former naval officer, came up with the HMS Bubble moniker, as the schedule of extended time away from home and family had "parallels with being at sea away from home [...] and having to deal with a sense of dislocation, anxiety and uncertainty".