King Charles III has signaled support for research into the British monarchy’s ties to slavery for the first time after a document containing an ancestor’s shares in a slave-trading company, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said Thursday.
Charles takes the matter “deeply seriously” and academics will be given access to royal collections and archives, the palace said.
The statement was in response to an article in The Guardian newspaper which published a document showing that the deputy governor of the slave-trading Royal African Company transferred a £1,000 share in the business to King William III in 1689.
The newspaper reported on the documents as part of a series of stories on royal wealth and money, as well as the monarchy’s connection to slavery.
His most recent memoir is “Spare,” Prince Harry wrote that the monarchy Dependent on wealth created by “exploited labor and thuggery, annexation and enslaved people”.
Lawyer and reparations expert Esther Stanford-Josei told CBS News in January that it is believed the British monarchy was “heavily involved” in financing slavery, including the slavers’ voyages between Africa, Europe and the Americas.
Stanford-Jossey explains that in the 17th century James II, Duke of York, was the governor of the Royal African Company, which was involved in the transportation of enslaved Africans.
“They also found a way to brand African people with the inscription ‘DY’ for the Duke of York,” Stanford-Josei said.
Charles and his eldest son, Prince William, expressed their regret for slavery but did not acknowledge the crown’s connection to the trade.
In March 2022, Prince William and Kate, Princess of Wales, was met By protesters during a visit to Jamaica, who demanded an apology for the monarchy’s role in slavery, as well as reparations from the UK.
“The horrific atrocities of slavery forever scar our history,” William said during the visit. “I want to express my deepest sorrow.”
King said he was trying to deepen his understanding of the “enduring effects of slavery” that run deep in the Commonwealth, an international grouping of countries made up mostly of former British colonies.
During a ceremony to make Barbados a republic two years ago, Charles referred to “the darkest days of our past and the terrible atrocities of slavery, which forever scar our history.” English settlers turned the island into a rich sugar colony using African slaves.
The research into the monarchy’s relationship with slavery is co-sponsored by Historic Royal Palaces and the University of Manchester and is expected to be completed by 2026.
Charles ascended the throne last year after the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. his coronation May 6 is planned for.