Prince Charles expresses ‘personal grief’ over ‘lasting impact’ of slavery at Rwanda Commonwealth meeting | UK News

Written by Javed Iqbal

The Prince of Wales has expressed his “personal grief” over the “lasting impact of slavery” and addressed the controversial issue of other Commonwealth countries’ severance of ties with the royal family in a speech at the opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM ) in Rwanda.

At the formal ceremonial event in Kigali, which officially kicks off the CHOGM meetings at the leadership level, the Prince invited Commonwealth leaders to join him in formally acknowledging the horrors of the slave trade and other difficult aspects of the colonial past.

He said: “In order to unlock the power of our common future, we must also acknowledge the injustices that have shaped our past. Many of these injustices belong to an earlier age with different, and in some ways less, values.”

The prince also told the event that he wants to acknowledge, “that the roots of our contemporary union are deep into the most painful period of our history”.

He added: “I can not describe the depth of my personal grief over so many suffering as I continue to deepen my own understanding of the lasting impact of slavery.”

It comes after recent royal tours where members of the royal family have been met with calls to apologize for the monarchy’s role in the slave trade.

Both Prince Charles and Prince William have previously expressed grief, but stopped apologizing – potentially to avoid wading into the debate over whether Caribbean countries should be paid compensation for what happened.

This latest speech directly to the leaders, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, could be interpreted as the prince asking the leaders to do more to resolve this issue.

This is the first meeting of the Heads of Government that the Prince of Wales has attended since it was confirmed in 2018 that he will automatically follow the Queen as head of the Commonwealth, so it was striking that he used the platform to address the issue of other kingdoms potentially severing ties with the royal family.

He said: “The Commonwealth includes countries that have had constitutional relations with my family, some that continue to do so, and increasingly those that have not had any.

“I would like to say clearly, as I have said before, that the constitutional arrangement of each member, such as a republic or monarchy, is solely a matter for each member state to decide. The benefit of a long life gives me the experience that events like these can change , calmly and without anger. “

November last year, Prince Charles visited Barbados on behalf of the Queen to attend Caribbean island becomes a republic.

Speaking of that moment, he stressed the importance of all kingdoms – even if their relationship with the monarchy changes – remaining part of Commonwealth family.

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Slavery, race and the royal family

He said: “As I said in Barbados last November, we should never forget the things that do not change: the close and trusted partnership between Commonwealth members; our common values ​​and common goals; and perhaps most importantly, the strong and lasting ties between the peoples of the Commonwealth that strengthen us all. “

In the past, the palace has often emphasized how the royal family sees any decisions about the future of individual countries as resting solely on their people. This has been pointed out by both the Queen and Prince Charles in previous speeches.

But the prince’s remarks in front of representatives from all 54 Commonwealth countries are undoubtedly a reaction to the recent rising debate in various kingdoms, which members of the royal family have witnessed even on overseas trips – most striking calls for Jamaica to become a republic during the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s tour.

Read more:
Prince William suggests that the Commonwealth could one day be led by a non-royal
Barbados becomes a republic ending 400 years of the British royal family as head of state

Fifteen countries including the United Kingdom currently retain the Queen as head of state and are known as the Commonwealth kingdoms.

Later, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will have a cup of tea with Prince Charles.

Their “catch up” – and whether they want to talk about Rwanda’s immigration policy – has so far dominated many of the headlines surrounding the summit.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister said he would talk to the prince about the government’s plans to deport asylum seekers to the country, after allegations, the prince has privately said he is shaken by the idea.

But late yesterday, both No 10 and the palace suggested that they were unlikely to discuss Rwanda’s policies.

Instead, the three topics on the agenda are sustainability, youth and the history and values ​​of the Commonwealth and Charles’ passion for it.

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Javed Iqbal

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