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Lady Susan Hussey: The late Queen’s number one head girl who joined HMS Bubble

Queen Elizabeth II, and her lady in waiting, Lady Susan Hussey (Chris Radburn/PA)
Queen Elizabeth II, and her lady in waiting, Lady Susan Hussey (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.

She 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.

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

Duke of Edinburgh funeral
The Queen on the day of Philip’s funeral (Leon Neal/PA)

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

Such is her bond with the royal family that Lady Susan, now 83, was one of the Prince of Wales’s godparents, and also attended his confirmation in 1997.

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

Prince William’s Confirmation – St. George’s Chapel, Windsor
Lady Susan Hussey (back row, second left) at godson William’s confirmation (John Stillwell/PA)

Lady Susan was married to the late BBC chairman Marmaduke Hussey.

Her 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.

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.

Diamond Jubilee celebrations
John Major, Lady Susan Hussey and Camilla, then the Duchess of Cornwall, at a Diamond Jubilee reception at the Guildhall (Chris Jackson/PA)

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.

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.

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 was considered invaluable as they operated in the background.

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.

Queen Elizabeth II death
Lady Susan Hussey (middle) behind the Queen and Philip onboard the Spirit of Chartwell during the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant (John Stillwell/PA)

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

Lady Susan is also a sister of the former Tory Cabinet minister William Waldegrave.