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King welcomes review into monarchy’s links to slave-trade, as he says ‘time has come’
6 April 2023, 15:38 | Updated: 6 April 2023, 15:49
The King has welcomed an independent study looking into the British monarchy's relationship with the slave trade in the 17th and 18th centuries, as he says it is a conversation "whose time has come".
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Buckingham Palace has said King Charles is taking the issue "profoundly seriously" and has embraced the study.
Co-sponsored by Historic Royal Palaces, the research is being carried out by The University of Manchester, which has been granted full access to Royal Archives and the Royal Collection.
The study is being conducted as part of a PHD project by historian Camilla de Koning – it started in October, a month after the King's ascension, and is expected to be completed in 2026.
Previously when addressing the slave trade, both King Charles and Prince William have expressed regret on the subject.
King Charles said while on a trip to Rwanda last year: "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.'"
A never seen before document in The Guardian shows the 1689 transfer of shares in the slave-trading Royal African Company from Edward Colston - the slave trader and the company's deputy governor - to King William III.
As such, the King said he wants to help further understanding of slavery's impact with "vigour and determination", according to a spokesman for Buckingham Palace.
The spokesman also added: "Given the complexities of the issues it is important to explore them as thoroughly as possible."
Prince William also commented on the country's involvement with the slave trade on a trip to Jamaica last year, as he said it "forever stains our history" and "should never have happened".
PHD student Ms De Koning said of the project: "The royals are often overlooked when it comes to influence".
"It seems like they are just stamping decrees, but they are actually very involved as diplomatic players," she told the BBC.
Dr Edmond Smith, who is supervising Ms De Koning's project, said the crown has "often been left out of discussions" on the transatlantic slave trade, and an "important hole that needed to be filled through the research.
"How the royal household may take that research on board is something we can only hope to see develop in the coming years."