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William expresses ‘profound sorrow’ at slavery and acknowledges Jamaica’s ‘pain’

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are touring the Caribbean to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

24 March 2022

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 words of his father the Prince of Wales and described the slave trade as an “appalling atrocity” that “stains our history” and he went on to acknowledged Jamaica’s “pain”.

Royal visit to the Caribbean – Day 5
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (centre) talk with Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness (left) and the Governor General of Jamaica Patrick Allen (right) (Toby Melville/PA)

The Cambridges’ tour of Belize, Jamaica and the forthcoming final leg in the Bahamas has 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.

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.

Speaking during a dinner hosted by the Queen’s representative in Jamaica, Governor General Sir Patrick Linton Allen, the duke said: “Anniversaries are also a moment for reflection, particularly this week with the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.”

Commenting on the sentiment expressed by Charles when he attended the Barbados ceremony that saw it become a republic in November, he 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.”

“I want to express my profound sorrow. Slavery was abhorrent.

Royal visit to the Caribbean – Day 5
Kate wore a green dress by Jenny Packham to the dinner. Toby Melville/PA

“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.

“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.”

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