David Starkey puts royal slavery row into perspective: 'Principle slaving nation was America!’

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were met by anti-slave protestors on their arrival to Jamaica on Tuesday

Published

David Starkey has attempted to put the ongoing slavery row into perspective by telling GB News that the “principle slaving nation was America".

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were met by protesters on their arrival to Jamaica on Tuesday, as they were accused of benefitting from the “blood, tears and sweat” of slaves.

Protesters gathered outside the British High Commission in Jamaican capital Kingston, with one placard held by a girl reading: “Kings, Queens and Princesses and Princes belong in fairytales not in Jamaica!”

In response to the protests, William expressed “profound sorrow” for slavery in a speech on Wednesday.

He said: “I want to express my profound sorrow. Slavery was abhorrent, and it should never have happened. While the pain runs deep, Jamaica continues to forge its future with determination, courage and fortitude.

“The strength and shared sense of purpose of the Jamaican people represented in your flag and motto celebrate an invincible spirit.”

David Starkey talking to Mark Stein
David Starkey talking to Mark Stein
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge left Jamaica on Thursday
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge left Jamaica on Thursday

And historian Mr Starkey said live on GB News he believes William handled himself well on the matter, before attempting to put some perspective on the row.

Mr Starkey said: “It’s understandable, what else would you expect them to do? I think William handled it just as well as he could.

“Interestingly the term he used 'stain' was actually in 1840 by Prince Albert, talking to the society for the abolition of slavery. And who would deny that it was a stain?

“What he should’ve also said, yes, in the 18th century, Britain was a leading slave power there is no doubt about that.

“But it is also uniquely the power that a true cost to itself abolishes slavery, not only through the Empire but throughout the world.

“The monarchy should not be choosing sides in our history, the monarchy should be about the recognition of the fact that we are all descendants of slavers and slaves, the exploiter and the exploited."

He went on to say: “The principle slaving power, can we just put this in a proper light, is America.

"The reason the George Floyd thing happened is because of the extraordinary paradox of America in the 18th century rebelling in the name of liberty and yet becoming the leading slave economy.

“The paradoxes are just endless, so its albert who keeps Britain out of interventions in the American civil war. Albert has a profoundly important influence in policy and again what we all forget, we think of liberty and slavery as nice opposites.

“In 18th century England, the people who were in favour about doing something about slavery were hard Tories.”