'British life is better because of them': William and Kate unveil Windrush National Monument

22 June 2022, 16:48

Prince William unveiled the new monument at Waterloo
Prince William unveiled the new monument at Waterloo. Picture: Getty

By Will Taylor

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have unveiled a new monument for the Windrush generation at Waterloo station.

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The statue depicts a man, woman and child with suitcases, a representation of those who left the Caribbean after the Second World War to settle and help rebuild the UK.

But many would go on to face discrimination and a scandal erupted in 2018 which left the Government apologising after people were wrongly deported.

"Discrimination remains an all too familiar experience for black men and women in Britain in 2022," William said.

"Every part of British life is better for the half a million men and women of the Windrush Generation."

Read more: Home Office 'tried to bury' report exposing racism that led to Windrush, says journalist

But he warned "it is also important to acknowledge the ways in which the future they sought and deserved has yet to come to pass".

He added: "I want you to know that you can count on mine and Catherine's continued support in helping us achieve a future they would be proud of."

William praised the contribution of the Windrush generation to British life
William praised the contribution of the Windrush generation to British life. Picture: Getty

The Queen, marking Windrush Day for the first time, said in a message: "It gives me pleasure to extend my congratulations on the creation of the National Windrush Monument.

"The unveiling at Waterloo station on Windrush Day serves as a fitting thank you to the Windrush pioneers and their descendants, in recognition of the profound contribution they have made to the United Kingdom over the decades.

"It is my hope that the memorial will serve to inspire present and future generations, and I send you my warmest good wishes on this historic occasion."

Read more: What is Windrush Day? Here's why and how it is celebrated

Next year marks 75 years since 500 passengers from the Caribbean aboard the HMT Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury in 1948.

They had been invited to help the UK recover from the devastation of the Second World War, and would be joined by thousands of other people coming from the region up to 1971.

However, it would later emerge members of the Windrush generation and their children were wrong detained and deported.

Others struggled to get access to healthcare, work and pensions, despite living in Britain legally, in a scandal that appalled the nation.

A damning report found the Home Office let down victims with "systemic operational failings" in the "foreseeable and avoidable" scandal.