Who is Lady Susan Hussey? Late Queen’s lady-in-waiting for more than 60 years

Lady Susan Hussey, 83, was the Queen’s confidante for more than 60 years (Chris Radburn/PA)
Lady Susan Hussey, 83, was the Queen’s confidante for more than 60 years (Chris Radburn/PA)

The late Queen’s loyal lady-in-waiting, Lady Susan Hussey, spent decades serving as one of Elizabeth II’s closest confidantes.

She was dubbed the monarch’s ‘number one head girl’ but has now resigned amid a race row.

Lady Susan has stepped down from her newly appointed post where she was set to help the King on formal occasions as one of three “Ladies of the Household”.

Ngozi Fulani, chief executive of Sistah Space and a prominent black advocate for survivors of domestic abuse, said “Lady SH” repeatedly asked her where she “really came from” when she said she was British at a Buckingham Palace reception.

A spokesman for the Prince of Wales said of the incident: “I was really disappointed to hear about the experiences of a guest at Buckingham Palace.

Racism has no place in our society, these comments were unacceptable, and it is right that the individual concerned has stepped down.”

Who is Lady Susan Hussey?

Lady Susan Hussey, 83, was the Queen’s lady-in-waiting for more than 60 years.

She was one of the Prince of Wales’s godparents, and also attended his confirmation in 1997.

Lady Susan was married to the late BBC chairman Marmaduke Hussey and she is the sister of the former Tory Cabinet minister William Waldegrave.

The late Marmaduke Hussey, who died in 2006, was BBC chairman when Diana, Princess of Wales, gave her controversial 1995 Panorama interview but, in accordance with tradition, he was not given a preview.

“Duke” Hussey was a leading newspaper industry executive for decades, taking the prestigious BBC post when he retired from News International.

Meanwhile, Susan Hussey’s daughter, Lady Katharine Brooke, is a close friend of the Queen Consort and has just been appointed one of Camilla’s six new Queen’s Companions.

Her relationship with the Queen

During the pandemic, Lady Susan joined the Queen and Prince Philip in ‘HMS Bubble’ as one of about 20 staff who cared for the royal couple in lockdown at Windsor Castle.

It was to Lady Susan that the Queen turned for support on the day of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.

Seventy photos for 70 years of HM Queen Elizabeth II record-breaking reign

2016: Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to the Prince’s Trust Centre in Kennington, London, to mark the 40th anniversary of the charity (PA)
2016: Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to the Prince’s Trust Centre in Kennington, London, to mark the 40th anniversary of the charity (PA)
1953: Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II (PA)
1953: Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II (PA)
1957: The Queen, in a gold lame dress, is seen in the Long Library at Sandringham shortly after making the traditional Christmas Day broadcast to the nation. On the desk are portraits of Prince Charles and Princess Anne. The Queen is holding the copy of ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’, from which she read a few lines during her message. The broadcast was televised this year for the first time and was carried by both the BBC and ITV. It was the 25th anniversary of the first radio message to the Commonwealth by her grandfather, King George V (PA)
1957: The Queen, in a gold lame dress, is seen in the Long Library at Sandringham shortly after making the traditional Christmas Day broadcast to the nation. On the desk are portraits of Prince Charles and Princess Anne. The Queen is holding the copy of ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’, from which she read a few lines during her message. The broadcast was televised this year for the first time and was carried by both the BBC and ITV. It was the 25th anniversary of the first radio message to the Commonwealth by her grandfather, King George V (PA)
2007: Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh at Broadlands for  their Royal Wedding Diamond Anniversary (PA)
2007: Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh at Broadlands for their Royal Wedding Diamond Anniversary (PA)
1952: The new Queen, Elizabeth II (formerly Princess Elizabeth), returns to Clarence House, London, with the Duke of Edinburgh from London Airport after the sudden death of her father, King George VI. She succeeded the King on his death a day earlier (PA)
1952: The new Queen, Elizabeth II (formerly Princess Elizabeth), returns to Clarence House, London, with the Duke of Edinburgh from London Airport after the sudden death of her father, King George VI. She succeeded the King on his death a day earlier (PA)
1954: Prince Charles and Princess Anne stand with their parents, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, on the balcony of Buckingham Palace following their return from the Commonwealth tour (PA)
1954: Prince Charles and Princess Anne stand with their parents, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, on the balcony of Buckingham Palace following their return from the Commonwealth tour (PA)
1955: Watched by Lady Churchill, Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill bows low to Queen Elizabeth II as he welcomes her and the Duke of Edinburgh to 10 Downing Street for dinner (PA)
1955: Watched by Lady Churchill, Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill bows low to Queen Elizabeth II as he welcomes her and the Duke of Edinburgh to 10 Downing Street for dinner (PA)
1956: The Queen strolls through Windsor Great Park with Prince Charles, Princess Anne, and two of her corgies. The were there to watch the Duke of Edinburgh play polo (PA)
1956: The Queen strolls through Windsor Great Park with Prince Charles, Princess Anne, and two of her corgies. The were there to watch the Duke of Edinburgh play polo (PA)
1958: Miners see the Queen wearing white overalls, scarf and helmet and black gumboots during her visit to Rothes Colliery Fifeshire. It was the Queen;s first visit to a coal mine and she spent about half an hour underground visiting the coal face (PA)
1958: Miners see the Queen wearing white overalls, scarf and helmet and black gumboots during her visit to Rothes Colliery Fifeshire. It was the Queen;s first visit to a coal mine and she spent about half an hour underground visiting the coal face (PA)
1959: Queen Elizabeth II and Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor joined by Sugar, one of the Royal corgis (PA)
1959: Queen Elizabeth II and Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor joined by Sugar, one of the Royal corgis (PA)
1960: The Queen holding Prince Andrew during an outing in the grounds at Balmoral, Scotland, where the Royal Family are on holiday (PA)
1960: The Queen holding Prince Andrew during an outing in the grounds at Balmoral, Scotland, where the Royal Family are on holiday (PA)

Lady Susan was at the Queen’s side, travelling with her in the State Bentley to St George’s Chapel for Prince Philip’s poignant farewell service amid Covid restrictions.

She has also been present at unique moments in history – such as on the Spirit of Chartwell barge with the Queen and other members of the Royal Family for the Diamond Jubilee river pageant on the Thames in 2012.

What is a lady-in-waiting?

Ladies-in-waiting were considered the unsung members of the late Queen’s household and were personally chosen by the monarch.

They had a variety of duties, including attending to private and personal matters for the Queen and handling her correspondence.

They also assisted the Queen on official engagements, from handing her money to being passed the bouquets of flowers presented to her.

In 2001, Lady Susan passed the Queen a pound coin so she could buy The Big Issue from a magazine seller while on an official day trip to Brighton.

The Queen’s ladies-in-waiting often served her for more than 50 years and acted as both friends and loyal assistants. Their discretion and support were considered invaluable as they operated in the background.