Prince Charles flies into race storm in Barbados tmw: ‘Regretful’ future king faces anti-slavery protests when he arrives to witness former colony cut ties with the monarchy 55 years after gaining its independence, reports the Sunday Mirror.
The history of the royal family and the slave trade goes back hundreds of years. The Royal African Company was an English mercantile company set up in 1660 by the royal Stuart family and City of London merchants to trade along the west coast of Africa.
It was led by the Duke of York, who was the brother of Charles II and later took the throne as James II. It shipped more African slaves to the Americas than any other company in the history of the Atlantic slave trade.
In the 1680s the Company was transporting about 5,000 enslaved people a year to markets primarily in the Caribbean across the Atlantic. Many were branded with the letters “DoY”, for its Governor, the Duke of York, who succeeded his brother on the throne in 1685, becoming King James II.
On 28th August 1833, the British Government passed the Slavery Abolition Act, and slaves across the British empire were granted emancipation.
Barbados remained a British colony until internal autonomy was granted in 1961.
The country became fully independent on November 30, 1966.
Demo organiser David Denny told the Sunday Mirror: “Prince Charles’ visit is an insult.
“The Royal Family benefited from slavery in Barbados. I’m angry.”
Mr Denny, general secretary of campaign group Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration, added: “It’s not just about money, it’s about an apology and help.
“Reparations are needed to transform our society.”
Denny continued: “Barbados should not honour a family who murdered and tortured our people during slavery. The profits created the financial conditions for the Royal Family to increase their power.
“Prince Charles is not deserving of any award from the people of Barbados. He should apologise.
“Our position is very clear: Barbados’ people and our ancestors have suffered under the hands of British exploitation, which was organised at a very high level.”
Barbados is following other Caribbean nations which have dispensed with the Queen as their head of state and turned to a homegrown representative, with Guyana becoming a republic in 1970, Trinidad and Tobago in 1976, and Dominica two years later.
In recent years Jamaica has also signalled it wants an elected head of state, with Prime Minister Andrew Holness saying it is a priority for his government.
Clarence House said in a statement: “His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales will visit Barbados to mark Barbados’s transition to a republic within the Commonwealth.”