Prince Charles’s slavery speech was far from a formal apology.
Prince Charles shared his “sorrow” for the suffering caused by slavery at the opening of a Commonwealth summit in Rwanda on June 24.
The royal said it was time that he and the world leaders in attendance to promote positive changes.
In his speech, he said they are all, “uniquely positioned to achieve such positive change in our world. To achieve this potential for good, however, and to unlock the power of our common future, we must also acknowledge the wrongs which have shaped our past.
However, the Prince of Wales danced around offering a formal apology for his ancestors’ involvement in slavery.
“Many of those wrongs belong to an earlier age with different – and, in some ways lesser – values. By working together, we are building a new and enduring friendship.”
He continued, “For 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. If we are to forge a common future that benefits all our citizens, we too must find new ways to acknowledge our past. Quite simply, this is a conversation whose time has come.”
This isn’t the first time Britain has denied apologizing for the slave trade.
In 2001, Britain went against the European Union issuing a straightforward apology for the transatlantic trade in slavery.
The British delegation instead wanted a more modest expression of “regret,” which seems to be where Prince Charles stands today.
But other UN members have already moved forward with apologies. Last year, Ms. Halsema, Amsterdam’s mayor apologized for the city’s role in the slave trade, even though the Netherlands government has not.
“I apologize for the active involvement of the Amsterdam city council in the commercial system of colonial slavery and the worldwide trade in enslaved people,” Ms. Halsema said.
Looks like several countries need to take a page from her book.