Royal Family urged to apologise for slavery and pay reparations

King Charles should look to apology and reparation for royal colonialism

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King Charles and the Government should work towards an apology for the UK’s role in the slave trade and also look to offer reparations, journalist and campaigner Lester Holloway has said. The Royal Family’s approach to issues relating to race and equality have come under the spotlight in recent weeks after royal aide Lady Susan Hussey stepped down from her role.

The decision came after an exchange she had with charity founder Ngozi Fulani at Buckingham Palace last month, in which she repeatedly asked Ms Fulani where she was “really from”.

Lady Hussey apologised to Ms Fulani during a meeting last week which was described as “warm and understanding”.

Asked how the Royal Family can make progress on racial equality going forward, Mr Holloway told Times Radio that King Charles and the Government should consider an apology and reparations for the monarchy’s historical links to the slave trade.

He said: “King Charles has actually got a decent record when it comes to supporting black organisations and individuals, not just through The Prince’s Trust but through his support of for example the Race at Work project amongst others.

“This now needs to be followed through in his role as King. Ultimately what I will be looking for is movement on the issue of a genuine apology for enslavement and a move towards reparations.

“That’s got to come from Government but actually the Royal Family bears some responsibility as well because those atrocities and genocide were carried out in the name of the Royal Family.

“King Charles can play an important role behind the scenes, perhaps even towards a joint statement between the monarchy and Government.”

The Royal Family’s links to the slave trade go back to 1562. At the time, John Hawkins became the first Englishman to transport African slaves with the approval of the monarch of the time – Queen Elizabeth I.

He received funding from the monarchy for another trip in 1564.

In 1660, the Royal African Company was established by the Duke of York, who was to become King James II.

The company went on to transport more than 187,000 slaves from Africa to British colonies.

The late Queen Elizabeth II worked to build relations with African countries, visiting the continent 21 times during her reign. However, anti-monarchy sentiment remains prominent in some parts of the Commonwealth, such as the Caribbean.

This was apparent earlier this year when Prince William and Kate toured the Caribbean and were met with protests. The now Prince of Wales said he felt “profound sorrow” for the “appalling atrocity of slavery” while speaking in Jamaica.

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Mr Holloway is the editor of The Voice, a leading news outlet for the black community in the UK. In September, the newspaper called for the Royal Family to apologise and pay slavery reparations.

Speaking about the controversy surrounding Lady Hussey’s comments to Ms Fulani, Mr Holloway also told Times Radio that the backlash the charity founder was met with shows how difficult it is to call out racism.

He added: “People realised before that if you put your head above the parapet, especially with social media today being what it is, you can subject yourself to pile-ons and racist intimidation. I am worried that the social media environment seems to be getting worse.

“The general atmosphere is going in the wrong direction, so i think it’s actually harder to call out racism than it has ever been.”

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