King ‘made it clear’ to aides he wants debate on slave trade

King Charles III would be open to “kickstarting debate” about the role the United Kingdom played in the slave trade, according to royal correspondent Richard Palmer. The Daily Express’s reporter said the monarch would not want to consider discussions about reparations but is keen to expand the educational tools available to learn about slavery. Speaking to Royal Round Up’s host Pandora Forsyth, Mr Palmer said: “He’s spoken more about slavery probably than any other member of his family since Prince Albert campaigned against slavery in the 19th century.

He has made it clear via aides and indeed by one of his goddaughters that he really wants to encourage a national debate about slavery.

“He would like the British people to learn about the trans-Atlantic slave trade in the same way we learn about the Holocaust, for example.”

Mr Palmer conceded the King would however prefer to stir the debate away from the involvement past members of the Royal Family had in the slave trade.

He continued: “He doesn’t want to debate the idea of reparations, which is the former policy of several Caribbean nations and previously African countries have called for reparations for slavery.

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“He doesn’t want to get involved in that. Looks like he doesn’t really want to get talking about how the Royal Family via his predecessors, from Queen Elizabeth I for a couple of hundred years, were actively involved in the slave trade.

“But he does want to debate it.”

Ms Forsyth clarified the King “wants to debate it on his terms,” to which Mr Palmer said: “He does.”

The Royal Family has been facing pressure from Commonwealth nations to recognise the role the UK, and their ancestors, played in slavery.

During their tour of Jamaica, Belize and the Bahamas earlier this year, the Prince and Princess of Wales were met with extensive protests from locals demanding the removal of the British monarch as their head of state.

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The Jamaican Government announced plans to transform the island into a republic by the time the next elections are held in 2025.

Writer and activist Staceyann Chin, who protested the visit alongside daughter Zuri, said the time had come to change Jamaica’s connection to the UK>

Ms Chin said: “The British monarchy should have left us a long, long, long, long time ago and it becomes more urgent each day that passes.

“You know, my daughter is here. I would love to say, ‘yes, we have dispensed with the monarchy here in Jamaica’.

“I’d love to say that, ‘no, we don’t have a king. The people who rule, the people who are heads of state, are people who the people choose.'”

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Prince William acknowledged the “profound sorrow” slavery had caused and said it “should never have happened” in a speech during his tour.

Speaking in March, Prince 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.”

And the King offered insight into his views about the debate on slavery during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali ahead of his accession in June.

He told delegates: “While we strive together for peace, prosperity and democracy I want to acknowledge that the roots of our contemporary association run deep into the most painful period of our history.

“I cannot describe the depths of my personal sorrow at the suffering of so many, as I continue to deepen my own understanding of slavery’s enduring impact. “

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