Speed Reads

'forever stains our history'

Prince William expresses 'profound sorrow' over slavery while in Jamaica

Prince William while in Jamaica expressed his "profound sorrow" over slavery after facing calls to offer an apology. 

The Duke of Cambridge during a speech at a dinner hosted by Jamaica's governor general said that "the appalling atrocity of slavery forever stains our history," adding, "I want to express my profound sorrow. Slavery was abhorrent, and it should never have happened," BBC News and CNN report

The remarks came amid Prince William and Kate Middleton's Caribbean tour marking Queen Elizabeth's 70th year on the throne. But dozens of Jamaican leaders had previously signed an open letter calling on the Duke of Cambridge to apologize because Queen Elizabeth II's "leadership, and that of her predecessors, have perpetuated the greatest human rights tragedy in the history of humankind," The Associated Press reports

"During her 70 years on the throne, your grandmother has done nothing to redress and atone for the suffering of our ancestors that took place during her reign and/or during the entire period of British trafficking of Africans, enslavement, indentureship and colonialization," the letter alleged, calling for "an apology and recognition of the need for atonement and reparations." 

William did not so do during his speech, and BBC royal correspondent Jonny Dymond noted that an explicit apology would be "carrying with it acceptance of responsibility and opening up the question of financial compensation." 

But William during his speech said that "​​while the pain runs deep, Jamaica continues to forge its future with determination, courage and fortitude." According to CNN, some protesters gathered in Jamaica to demand an apology from William, with one sign reading, "Let's get current. Let's get rid of the rule of the Queen."