Prince Charles has expressed his “personal sorrow” about “slavery’s enduring impact”.
The 73-year-old prince addressed the issue during the opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda, where he also called on other Commonwealth leaders not to ignore the impact of slavery.
In a speech in Kigali on Friday (24.06.22), Charles said: “To unlock the power of our common future, we must also acknowledge the wrongs which have shaped our past. Many of those wrongs belong to an earlier age with different, and in some ways lesser, values.”
The future monarch – who has been acting as de facto head of the Commonwealth as the Queen no longer travels overseas – told leaders that he wants to acknowledge that “roots of our contemporary association run deep into the most painful period of our history”.
He added during his speech: “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.”
In March, Prince William – Charles’ eldest son – spoke of his “profound sorrow” over slavery during a speech at a dinner in Jamaica.
The 40-year-old prince described slavery as abhorrent and acknowledged that it “forever stains our history”.
He added: “While the pain runs deep, Jamaica continues to forge its future with determination, courage and fortitude.”
Earlier this week, William also conceded that discrimination remains “an all too familiar experience” for black men and women in Britain.
What’s more, the prince spoke out against the Windrush Scandal, which involved the wrongful deportation of members of the Windrush generation, who migrated to the country after World War Two.
William said: “Only a matter of years ago, tens of thousands of that generation were profoundly wronged by the Windrush Scandal. That rightly reverberates throughout the Caribbean community here in the UK as well as many in the Caribbean nations.
“Therefore, alongside celebrating the diverse fabric of our families, our communities and our society as a whole – something the Windrush Generation has contributed so much to – it is also important to acknowledge the ways in which the future they sought and deserved has yet to come to pass.”