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Lady Susan Hussey’s friend says ‘deafness’ may have played role in row

Lady Susan Hussey: LBC guests clash over racism row

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Friends of Lady Susan Hussey have said the former Lady of the Household’s hearing may have contributed to the controversy surrounding her treatment of Ngozi Fulani earlier this week. The 83-year-old former right-hand to Queen Elizabeth II prompted a race row when Ms Fulani, a Londoner, revealed the aide had repeatedly quizzed her about “what part of Africa” she was from. The friend speculated that the “hard of hearing” Lady Susan was experiencing issues on the day due to hear “deafness”.

Speaking to the Daily Mail’s Richard Eden, the friend suggested the combination of this deafness and a loud, busy room led to a “stilted” conversation.

They said: “Like many people of her age, Lady Susan is rather hard of hearing.

“It’s likely that her deafness contributed to the problems she had that day, and may perhaps help explain the stilted nature of the conversation.”

They added: “It was a very noisy room, with lots of people, so she may not have heard as much as she usually would.”

The friend’s justification for the controversy is one of several people have attempted to make in the days following Ms Fulani’s revealing statement.

Ms Fulani has criticised those who would seek to explain away the comments by focussing on Lady Susan’s age.

The chief executive of the charity Sistah Space said she had heard “many suggestions” that age factored into the incident.

She rubbished those claims while speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Thursday, December 1.

Ms Fulani said they were “a kind of a disrespect about ageism”, adding: “Are we saying that because of your age you can’t be racist or you can’t be inappropriate?”

She said she didn’t see the “relevance of whether I’m British or not British”, as the invite was for an event against domestic abuse.

While Lady Susan’s words weren’t “physical violence” the charity chief said: “It is an abuse.”

In a post on Twitter, she revealed the former Palace official had asked her where she “really” came from.

Lady Susan allegedly asked her where her “people came from” and when she first “came here” despite her being a British woman.

Ms Fulani suggested her comments went beyond the individual and showed “institutional racism”.

Buckingham Palace has apologised for the incident, with a statement pledging to take it “extremely seriously”, with an investigation to “establish the full details”.

Officials said the comments were “unacceptable and deeply regrettable”, adding they had “reached out” to Ms Fulani.

Speaking on behalf of Lady Susan, they added she would “like to express her profound apologies for the hurt caused”.

The Palace said it had reminded “all members of the household” of “the diversity and inclusivity policies which they are required to uphold at all times”.

Lady Susan is Prince William’s Godmother, leading the Prince of Wales to issue a similar statement.

His spokesman said racism has “no place in our society”, adding it was “right” that she had stepped aside as a Palace aide.

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