Keir Starmer says Prince William 'could have gone further' with slavery comments in Caribbean

The Labour leader criticised the Duke of Cambridge's response to protests calling for reparations from the British monarchy during the Caribbean tour

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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer suggested the Duke of Cambridge could have gone further in his remarks about slavery during his Caribbean tour.

“He could have gone further,” Sir Keir said, but acknowledged “it’s a difficult one”. “I think that he may go further in the future.”

The Labour leader added: “William and Kate went on an important trip with important messages, including messages about the changing nature of the Commonwealth going forwards, and that is difficult.”

The Duke of Cambridge shakes hands with members of the public during a visit to a Fish Fry in Abaco, a traditional Bahamian culinary gathering place which is found on every island in the Bahamas, on day eight of their tour of the Caribbean on behalf of the Queen to mark her Platinum Jubilee. Picture date: Friday March 25, 2022.
The Duke of Cambridge shakes hands with members of the public during a visit to a Fish Fry in Abaco, a traditional Bahamian culinary gathering place which is found on every island in the Bahamas, on day eight of their tour of the Caribbean on behalf of the Queen to mark her Platinum Jubilee. Picture date: Friday March 25, 2022.

Sir Keir said it was important for the Commonwealth to modernise to strengthen the bonds with the UK.

But he was it was a “bit odd” for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to ride in the back of the same Land Rover that the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh used 60 years ago.

He told LBC: “In a sense what William and Kate were doing – which I applaud – is saying ‘we’re looking to the future’ but that all harked of the past so I didn’t quite see how that actually fit that well with the the aim of their trip.”

Labour leader Keir Starmer suggested the Duke of Cambridge could have gone further in his remarks about slavery during his Caribbean tour.
Labour leader Keir Starmer suggested the Duke of Cambridge could have gone further in his remarks about slavery during his Caribbean tour.

The Cambridges’ tour of Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas last week prompted demonstrations and statements calling for an apology from the Royal Family.

The future king did not say sorry, just as his father Charles had not during his trip to witness Barbados become a republic.

The Duke of Cambridge has denounced slavery as “abhorrent”, saying “it should never have happened” as he addressed the issue following days of protests calling for reparations from the Royal Family.

William expressed his “profound sorrow” at the forced transportation of millions of people from Africa to the Caribbean and North America – a trade which British monarchs either supported or profited from during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Speaking during his visit to Jamaica with Kate, he echoed the Prince of Wales' words and described the slave trade as an “appalling atrocity” that “stains our history” and he went on to acknowledge Jamaica’s “pain”.

But he praised the Windrush generation of Caribbeans who arrived in the UK a few years after the Second World War to help rebuild the nation depleted by six years of conflict.

Jamaica’s prime minister Andrew Holness appeared to suggest his country may be the next country to break away from the monarchy, telling the Cambridges it was “moving on” and intended to “fulfil our true ambitions and destiny as an independent, developed, prosperous country”.