King Charles Supports Investigation Into British Monarchy’s Ties To Slavery

A newly discovered document shows a connection to the slave trade.

King Charles III, who previously expressed “personal sorrow” for the suffering caused by the slave trade, will cooperate with an independent study that examines the relationship between the British monarchy and the historic enslavement of Africans in its colonies, the BBC reports.

Buckingham Palace’s announcement came in response to a Guardian newspaper probe published April 6 that found a previously unseen document that shows infamous slave trader Edward Colston transferring Royal African Company shares to King William III in 1689.

A palace spokesperson said Charles is eager to continue learning more about the devastating impact of slavery. "This is an issue that His Majesty takes profoundly seriously," the spokesperson said. "Given the complexities of the issues it is important to explore them as thoroughly as possible."

Prince Charles Says 'Time Has Come' To Confront The History Of Slavery

The study by Ph.D. candidate Camilla de Koning is expected to be completed in 2026. University of Manchester is carrying out the research with Historic Royal Palaces, an independent charity that manages some of the U.K.’s unoccupied royal palaces. Buckingham Palace is also granting the researchers full access to the Royal Archives and the Royal Collection.

Speaking at the 2022 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, the then Prince Charles reflected on the slave trade to the leaders of Britain’s former colonies.

“While we strive together for peace, prosperity and democracy I want to acknowledge that the roots of our contemporary association run deep into the most painful period of our history. 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,” he told the delegates, according to CNN.

Meanwhile, a movement is underway in some of those now independent former colonies to remove the British monarch as their head of state. The Caribbean island nation of Barbados did just that in 2021. Bahamian Prime Minister Philip Davis has announced that he will hold a referendum to remove King Charles and become a republic, as Jamaica has been exploring a similar move.

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