You’re reading Reaction. Subscribe and receive editor Iain Martin’s weekly newsletter, daily columnists including Tim Marshall and Maggie Pagano, unlimited access to all the stories by our brilliant team of journalists, and our daily email with analysis every evening. Plus invites to subscriber-only events.

“Where are you from?” That question is asked thousands of times every day, between strangers meeting at work, in pubs, in bus shelters – in every imaginable situation and venue. In royal small talk, it rotates with “Have you come far?” and “How long have you been doing this kind of work?”

Suddenly, however, this most commonplace of conversational gambits, second only to the weather in popularity as an ice-breaking social exchange, has become transformed into “hate speech”. When reports of the conversation between Lady Susan Hussey and a woman who calls herself Ngozi Fulani, though no legal basis for that name has been discovered by researchers, first broke, they appeared to describe a tedious, but trivial, situation in which an elderly woman pursued a casual query more pertinaciously than was necessary.

The “narrative” (in leftist terminology) seemed to describe a classic case of a daughter of immigrant parents, fully assimilated, resenting having a foreign heritage imposed upon her. The conversation, as reported, was crafted to convey that impression, with Fulani consistently repudiating any foreign associations: “We’re based in Hackney…” “Here, UK…” (in response to the question being repeated) “I am born here and am British…” “Lady! I am a British national, my parents came here in the ’50s…”

To anyone hearing that exchange for the first time, broadcast on the BBC, it sounded like someone totally British being harassed by an elderly woman determined to undermine that identity by inquiring into her remote ancestry. Insensitive and boring, though hardly “racist”. Almost immediately, however, some strange anomalies began to surface. In Nigel Farage’s words, “Something doesn’t feel right here.” Indeed, it does not. Even during the early BBC reports, there were readings from the transcript of the conversation.

¿Qué? Who has a transcript of a conversation at a drinks party? How did that arise? It can only have been in one of two ways. Either Fulani wrote it all down, allegedly from memory, in which case it is no evidence at all. Anyone can write a screed of bizarre dialogue and claim it took place. The transcript contains no fewer than 17 exchanges between the interlocutors: no one could accurately recall a dialogue of that length. In a case such as this, when the intention of one of the speakers depends on the exact words used, even vocal inflections, a reconstruction from memory is useless. As someone once said, “Recollections may vary.”

The other possibility is that Fulani recorded the conversation. If so, that betrays an agenda. Who takes a tape recorder to a Buckingham Palace drinks party? Her supporters deny that is the case. If so, no reliance can be placed on a script written by Fulani herself and attributed to Lady Susan Hussey, whose side of the story, for reasons of traditional courtier discretion, we have not heard. The witness to the conversation is Mandu Reid, leader of the Women’s Equality Party, who has been aggressively making an issue of Fulani’s supposed victimisation.

However, these considerations temporarily faded into the background when we saw what are termed by PR gurus “the optics” of the occasion. The nation was startled to see that Marlene Headley, daughter of Gladstone and Mildred Headley, of Willesden, a fully assimilated second-generation British citizen, was wearing a parody African costume based on faux leopardskin material, with a necklace of shells and massive dreadlocks (“I am born here and am British.”). How this cultural appropriation was received by genuine Africans is interesting to speculate.

If this lady is so anxious to insist she is native British and to resent any attribution to her of foreign heritage, why did she dress like that for an afternoon visit to Buckingham Palace? Why did she change her name from Marlene Headley to Ngozi Fulani, a West African name, even though her nearer heritage is Caribbean? Above all, dressed in that costume, bearing no relation to any identifiable African nation, why would she be surprised when Lady Susan Hussey asked the obvious question – the elephant in the room – “Where do you come from?”

“My connection with Africa became my lifelong story,” Fulani told a newspaper. In that case, why did she not say so to Lady Susan, instead of obstructing the conversation with “We’re based in Hackney”? As the anti-royal, woke narrative began to unravel, more strange revelations came tumbling into the public domain. Ngozi Fulani was not even directly invited to the Palace as a representative of her organisation, but was brought along under the auspices of another charity. Even airline tickets are non-transferable, but it appears invitations to Buckingham Palace can be handed around; that says little for the state of security surrounding the royal family.

If invitations had been strictly personal, some basic research would have established that Fulani hates the royal family, is a partisan of the Duchess of Sussex and should have been persona non grata. Asked by Jeremy Vine, on a phone-in to his show, about tweeting her support for the Duchess of Sussex, Fulani replied: “I have never tweeted about Meghan Markle. I have not joined that conversation and I won’t do that now.”

Almost within minutes, social media were flooded with screen shots of Fulani’s tweets, e.g., in March 2021: “I admire Meghan for speaking out. According to clear definition, it seems Meghan is a survivor of DV [domestic violence] from her in-laws.” (“I have never tweeted about Meghan.”) Or again, at the time of the Platinum Jubilee: “Harry and Meghan won’t be allowed on the balcony. It is an exclusively white balcony. The only black people are banned. This is racism.”. (“I have not joined that conversation.”)

When someone is economical with the actualité on such a scale, why would we believe a word they say about Lady Susan Hussey? In a television interview, Fulani repeated her denunciations of Lady Hussey: “This was racism, plain and simple.” No, it was not, to any thinking person, even if Fulani’s script were to prove accurate. Both the media and the Palace, as is universal among institutions nowadays, prostrated themselves in the face of the unsupported claims of an anti-royal activist, without conducting the most elementary inquiries into her claims and motives.

Fulani’s website defines her charity Sistah Space: “Our charity supports black women domestic violence survivors.” No doubt there are many equivalent charities that exclusively support white women domestic violence survivors, but one does not hear much about them. No journalist thought it worthwhile to investigate Sistah Space until Nigel Farage revealed on GB News that it was funded by Black Lives Matter (BLM), an organisation of Marxist inspiration, which has trumpeted its desire to dismantle the nuclear family, whose corrupt leadership in America has been exposed as siphoning off money to buy luxurious houses.

One television channel gave airtime to the British event organiser of BLM, who delivered a ludicrous lecture couched in woke language, denouncing the racist mentality pervading Buckingham Palace. Across the media and politics, grave-faced commentators, wearing that constipated expression of sanctimony they adopt for virtue-signalling condemnation of transgressions against woke orthodoxy, competed to deliver themselves of drivelling censure.

It was announced that Buckingham Palace was “in talks” with Ngozi Fulani, as if she were the US Secretary of State. The whole controversy has generated an exceptionally high BS quotient, sufficient to threaten the ozone layer. Is there endemic racism, even unconscious racism, in Britain? Well, try this statement: “We had to learn about our culture from middle-class white people. It did not feel authentic and at times I found it traumatic.”

That was Ngozi Fulani’s description of studying for a degree in African studies at SOAS. As with every other utterance by Fulani and her supporters, notably BLM, try reversing the ethnic situation and it emerges as deeply racist. In her tour of media studios to promote her increasingly implausible narrative, Fulani said she had felt violated. A woman who works with female victims of domestic violence should be aware, more than most other people, that in the context of women “violation” has a horrific meaning that is very different from a conversation in a palace drawing room with an 83-year-old grande dame.

Some critics have drawn attention to the fact that the accounts of Sistah Space allegedly show Fulani, the sole paid employee, drawing a salary of £65,000 and that some person or persons appear to have run up considerable expenses. The Charity Commission may well be invited by members of the public to interest itself in a charitable organisation that has generated so much controversy.

The two real victims of this incident are Lady Susan Hussey and the Monarchy. Lady Susan has been treated appallingly. It was noticeable that the one point on which all woke commentators were eager to congratulate the Palace was the speed with which it had acted. That is because, in cases such as this, the false narrative can seldom survive scrutiny beyond 24 hours, so it is necessary to insist on summary injustice. Thus, the career of Lady Susan Hussey, who had served the late Queen devotedly for 62 years, was terminated within two hours of a contrived complaint.

There was not the least attempt at a proper investigation, just a lemming stampede to accede to the demands of the lynch mob. Does anyone imagine that Elizabeth II would have selected as her close attendant on innumerable Commonwealth visits over 62 years – and as her sole companion at her husband’s funeral – a malevolent racist? Yet Lady Susan’s reputation has been destroyed, her record length of service to the crown trashed, by a campaign to persuade people her views make Adolf Hitler seem moderate. That is evil.

Evil, too, is the attempt to destroy the Monarchy – for that is the real agenda, led by an offshore entity based on narcissism and greed. The mourning period for the late Queen was a time of anguish for the woke community, horrified by the love the nation displayed towards its core institution, with people queuing for more than 24 hours to pay their respects for a brief moment in Westminster Hall.

That dismaying experience provoked a fierce resolution among leftists to attack the Crown as soon as it was deprived of the protection of the late Queen’s popularity and respect. The enemies of the Monarchy believe they can seize the agenda now and bend the institution to their will. Already they have enjoyed extravagant success.

Lady Susan Hussey would have been treated with respect by Queen Elizabeth; now, just three months after the Queen’s death, Lady Susan has become, in the words of her godson’s spokesman, “the individual” who “has stepped aside with immediate effect”, adding the gratuitous observation “racism has no place in our society” – thus implicitly supporting the notion that Lady Susan is a racist.

Less than admirable seems a restrained way of describing such treatment. Of course, monarchies have always deserted their most loyal servants when opportune – Charles I’s abandonment of Strafford to his fate is one example and that did not end well for the King. There is no amount of appeasement that will satisfy the left: every concession will lead to further demands until, as with Louis XVI, the revolutionaries are in command.

This race hysteria must not be accommodated: with immigration blatantly uncontrolled and the term “ethnic minority” in our major cities now synonymous with “white British”, race-baiting subversives must not be allowed to divide society. The media need to recover their role as neutral and investigative reporters, instead of unquestioningly accepting any unsupported denunciation of “racism”. And the same applies to the Palace.

Write to us with your comments to be considered for publication at