Prince William declares slavery a 'stain' on British history on Jubilee Tour
Despite the protests across the Commonwealth, William stopped short of apologising
The Duke of Cambridge has expressed “profound sorrow” and acknowledged Jamaica’s pain over slavery during a speech delivered at a state dinner in the Caribbean country.
In the address, William denounced slavery as “abhorrent”, saying “it should never have happened” and went on to acknowledge Jamaica’s “pain”.
The monarch stopped short of apologising, but described the slave trade as an appalling atrocity that “stains our history”, echoing the words of his father the Prince of Wales, who said the same on a visit to Barbados last year.
During their Commonwealth tour to celebrate the Queen’s jubilee, the Cambridges have been faced with widespread protests urging the monarchy to pay reparations for slavery.
Jamaica’s prime minister Andrew Holness told the royal couple on Wednesday that the nation will be cutting ties with the Royal family.
Senior political sources within Jamaica have said processes to decouple from the British Monarchy started several months ago according to The Independent.
During the dinner hosted by Patrick Allen, governor general of Jamaica, at King’s House in Kingston on Wednesday William said: “I strongly agree with my father, the Prince of Wales, who said in Barbados last year that the appalling atrocity of slavery forever stains our history.”
He continued: “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,” he said.
“It is this same spirit that spurred on the Windrush generation, who came to the United Kingdom to help rebuild after the Second World War. We are forever grateful for the immense contribution that this generation and their descendants have made to British life, which continues to enrich and improve our society.”
Concluding his speech at the black tie event, William affectionately paid tribute to the Queen: “She may be my actual grandmother, but everyone counts her as their grandmother too.”
He also recognised the plight of Jamaicans caught up in the conflict in Ukraine: “Catherine and I were deeply moved by the plight of the Jamaican students who have recently returned safely from Ukraine.
“Their experiences are a reminder of the terrifying toll and inequality of war and conflicts across the world, which we must never forget.”