EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Did deafness play a part in Lady Susan’s palace race gaffe?
Sources told the Mail that ‘absolutely no malice’ was meant in Lady Susan’s comments
Buckingham Palace guest Ngozi Fulani said she was left feeling ‘violated’ after Prince William’s godmother ‘interrogated’ her about where she was from at a reception on Tuesday, despite her making clear she was British.
I can disclose that a very common problem may have played a part in the domestic abuse campaigner’s fateful exchange with Lady Susan Hussey.
‘Like many people of her age, Lady Susan is rather hard of hearing,’ one of her friends tells me. ‘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.’
The friend adds: ‘It was a very noisy room, with lots of people, so she may not have heard as much as she usually would.’ Lady Susan, 83, served as Queen Elizabeth’s right-hand woman for 62 years before being given the honorary position of ‘Lady of the Household’ by King Charles and Queen Camilla.
Ms Fulani accused Lady Susan of moving her hair in order to look at her name badge and asking her: ‘What part of Africa are you from?’ when she replied that she came from Hackney.
Ngozi Fulani published details of the conversation before appearing on ‘Good Morning Britain’
On Wednesday, after Ms Fulani published details of their conversation on social media, Buckingham Palace announced that Lady Susan was resigning her post and expressed her profound apologies for the offence caused.
Sources have told this newspaper that while there was no doubt the comments were made, ‘absolutely no malice was intended’.
Lady Susan, widow of former BBC Chairman Lord (Marmaduke) Hussey, has offered to meet Ms Fulani. During a string of media appearances, Ms Fulani described her Palace meeting as a ‘form of abuse’.
Lady Susan Hussey (left) accompanies the Queen Consort to the opening of Parliament in 2019
How it almost kicked off in Qatar for Charles
Human rights fisticuffs with Qatar are nothing new — just ask King Charles.
Newly unearthed Foreign Office documents reveal that, during a tour of the Gulf, he ran into the same hardline atttitudes as gay football fans are currently experiencing during the World Cup.
At one point, senior Qataris refused an invitation to a royal reception over concerns about the presence of women, alcohol and even Highgrove-sourced canapes.
The clashes arose as the then Prince of Wales was touring the Middle East on the Royal Yacht in 1997, promoting British trade and also greater East-West understanding.
In his classified despatch to his Foreign Office masters in London, the British ambassador to Qatar, Patrick Wogan, wrote that His Royal Highness’s friendly overtures were not reciprocated. ‘Several Qataris and expatriate Arabs have commented favourably on HRH’s efforts to encourage greater tolerance of Islam,’ he wrote.
‘I regret that they appear to view this as a one-way process: Qatari attendance at the reception on board Britannia was depleted because we were unable to give assurances that alcohol would not be served; the acting head of the Qatari Navy demanded a separate menu, to ensure that his meal was not contaminated by non-halal meat; and Qatari protocol were ruthless in ensuring that no women participated in the ceremonies during the visit.’
Let’s hope the current Prince of Wales gets an easier ride if England reach the World Cup Final — and he is compelled to head out there as president of the FA.
Vogue’s Xmas wish is to put her feet up
Vogue Williams is opting for neutral ground
The season of goodwill can be a battleground for many families, so model Vogue Williams and her Made In Chelsea star husband, Spencer Matthews, are opting for no-man’s land.
‘Last year we were in Ireland and this year we wanted somewhere neutral, so we’re going to Scotland,’ admits Vogue, who is from the Emerald Isle. Spencer, whose brother, James, is married to the Princess of Wales’s sister, Pippa Middleton, could take her to the Glen Affric estate in the Highlands, which is owned by his family.
Speaking at the Women In Film And TV Awards, at the London Hilton Park Lane, Vogue, 37, tells me: ‘It’s been a busy year. We literally want to do nothing.’
She gave birth to their third child, a boy called Otto, in April.
Boris’ nanny ready to wield her whips
The ex-No 10 aide has a debut novel on the way
Her impending debut novel has been characterised as a cross between House Of Cards and Fifty Shades Of Grey — which may explain why the invariably elegant Cleo Watson opted for an almost down-at-heel look in London this week.
Favouring jeans, trainers and hooded coat, the former Downing Street adviser looked as though she might have been heading for a clandestine meeting with her old ally, Dominic Cummings.
Such were the pair’s contrasting styles that an observer remarked it was like looking at a gazelle next to a pit pony.
Cleo, who says she was Boris Johnson’s ‘nanny’ while at No 10, has entitled her book Whips.
Boris Johnson’s ‘nanny’ and husband Thomas Haggie, a barrister, are pictured in North London
Wellness guru Kate turns a healthy profit
Kate Moss has recently reinvented herself as a ‘wellness guru’ – and earned a healthy return
Kate Moss turns 49 next month, but she still earns far more than models half her age.
The supermodel, who has recently reinvented herself as a wellness ‘guru’, has just disclosed a £2.3 million increase in assets on the books of Kate Moss Ltd — the private firm through which she provides ‘professional services’.
Its financial statements, published on Wednesday by Companies House, disclose £10.4 million worth of cash and £1 million worth of income due as at November last year. After allowing for bills at £2.2 million, she held £9.3 million in retained earnings.
In addition to the firm, which she set up in 2014, Moss has several other companies.
Scarlett’s stalkers? Mum and dad
Writer Scarlett Curtis has flown the nest, but she’s struggling to escape her parents, the Four Weddings And A Funeral film maker Richard Curtis and broadcaster Emma Freud.
The 27-year-old has moved to a £1 million-plus flat a couple of miles away from the family home in Notting Hill, and will now have to put up with her parents as neighbours.
‘As soon as I told my parents I was moving, they decided to move too, and are “coincidentally” moving around the corner from me,’ she wails.
Her parents’ sale of their five-bedroom home for almost £30 million is not passing without hitch, however. I disclosed last Saturday that Curtis is seeking forgiveness from the council, after admitting that he and Freud flouted planning rules.
Writer Scarlett Curtis says her parents are ‘coincidentally’ moving round the corner from her
(Very) modern manners
Christmas is a time of over-indulgence, but some people are keen not to make a pig of themselves wolfing down their Christmas dinner. Social climbers and their children are enrolling at the Sunningdale Academy in Berkshire, where they are being taught the finer points of table manners, such as how to butter a bread roll and make small talk at sophisticated parties.
Promoting its ‘One Day Festive Dining Etiquette Event’, the academy says students will also be shown how not to bolt their food, excuse themselves to use the loo and handle any slopped soup. Classes cost £145, or £90 for children. A Christmas present for a slobbish friend?
Conran’s £6.5k fizz
They’ve bidden farewell to Barton Court, the Berkshire manor house their father bought as a wreck in 1971 and then magnificently restored. Now, just months after selling Barton for £15 million, Sir Terence Conran’s five children and his widow, Vicki, are parting with its contents — including Conran’s cellar.
It’s a thing of splendour, with a magnum of perhaps the rarest champagne, Moet & Chandon’s Esprit du Siecle. ‘A unique wine of extraordinary complexity, history and craftsmanship,’ says Bonhams, which is auctioning Conran’s treasures. And, it might add, a sobering price — with an upper estimate of £6,500. Bottoms up!
Olivia Williams discovered a new respect for the Queen Consort after taking the role of Camilla in The Crown. ‘She was a victim of circumstance in many ways, she had to move out of the family home. She wasn’t yet married to Charles. She had no security,’ the actress says. ‘Now, she’s emerged with this extraordinary warmth and is able to wink at a bank of press who were formerly her tormentors. There’s never been “Camilla: Her Story” or a vindictive memoir from her or even a cruel word. I just love her.’ A lesson for Prince Harry ahead of his autobiography, perhaps?
The royals’ favourite composer, John Rutter, has found a new use for his conducting baton — to smite critics who describe his work as lightweight. ‘I don’t want to write music that shuts people out, that says, “Go away, this is not for you”,’ he tells me ahead of his Christmas Celebration concert at the Royal Albert Hall.
Rutter, 77, adds: ‘If you want a tune, you have to go to the world of pop music or musical theatre, which is where I have drawn a lot of nourishment over the years.’
Guess who leaped up at a public crime summit in West London on Thursday evening to make his point? Lord Brocket, the former I’m A Celebrity star, who was jailed for a £4.5 million classic car insurance fraud.
Speaking about his neighbourhood’s descent into lawlessness, he tells me: ‘There are kids running around with machetes and guns, wearing hoodies and facemasks, so the police can’t identify them.
‘It’s not about stealing cars any more it’s about stealing expensive watches. Either you take it off or they’ll just take your arm off.’
Charlie Brocket, 70, praises World Cup host Qatar for its medieval punishments: ‘They might get criticised for LGBTQ, but there’s hardly any crime there. Maybe we should start chopping thieves’ arms off, too . . .’
Royal pal Basia Briggs is furious over the resignation of Queen Elizabeth’s devoted lady-in-waiting after a Buckingham Palace guest, Ngozi Fulani, made public her offence at her awkward ‘interrogation’.
Basia, who is a friend of Prince Michael of Kent and has been involved in royal projects, tells me: ‘It’s terrible what they have done to poor Lady Susan Hussey. It was a courteous, geographical conversation, not racist at all. Why didn’t [the guest] just say where her ancestors were from. It’s very interesting.’
Basia, who hails from Polish aristocracy, adds: ‘People always ask me about where I originate from and I say my father was from Krakow and my mother was from Gdansk. What’s the big deal? Try being Polish! I was abused and insulted ever since kindergarten. I was at a wedding in Mayfair recently and a man next to me said, “The only Poles I’ve met are servants”.’
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