Queen told to apologise for slavery in new royal Caribbean tour controversy

28 April 2022, 06:59 | Updated: 28 April 2022, 08:30

Prince Edward's tour of the Caribbean has seen protests over slavery
Prince Edward's tour of the Caribbean has seen protests over slavery. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

The Queen should apologise for slavery, protesters in the Caribbean have said in the latest Royal tour row.

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The calls came as Prince Edward, the youngest of the monarch's children, visits Saint Lucia, the island nation where the Queen is head of state.

The Duke and Countess of Wessex's trip is the latest Royal visit to the region to become surrounded by controversy over the legacy of slavery.

A protester in Saint Lucia, who did not want to give his name, said: "We want reparations now. The Queen of England needs to apologise for slavery."

Another smiled and said: "London Bridge is falling down."

They were among about 10 demonstrators who chanted and displayed banners like "repatriation with reparations".

That came after the Wessexes' visit to Antigua and Barbuda, where they were urged to use their "diplomatic influence" to secure reparations for the country.

They were also told it intended to become a republic, dropping the Queen as monarch.

It follows the Caribbean tour by Prince William and Kate in March, where they were greeted by demonstrations about the Royal family's historic ties to the slave trade.

Read more: Slavery 'was abhorrent and should never have happened' William says after protests

Elizabeth I was involved with John Hawkins, one of the first British slave traders, and Charles II encouraged its expansion.

The latter invested private money in the Royal African company, a group that took Africans over the Atlantic, along with his brother, James II.

Later, slavery abolitionists were opposed by the Duke of Clarence, who would become William IV.

It has led to calls for the Royal Family to address their ancestor's ties to slavery, with some critics claiming their wealth is at least partly derived from the trade.

Read more: William and Kate welcomed to Jamaica despite protests and calls for slavery apology

Prince William's tour saw them have to abandon a trip to a farm in Belize due to protests.

When he arrived in Jamaica, he was warmly greeted but protesters demonstrated over slavery reparations.

Prince William said in a speech during the tour: "I want to express my profound sorrow. Slavery was abhorrent.

"And it should never have happened.

"While the pain runs deep, Jamaica continues to forge its future with determination, courage and fortitude.

"The strength and shared sense of purpose of the Jamaican people, represented in your flag and motto, celebrate an invincible spirit."

Read more: Prince Andrew stripped of honorary Freedom of the City of York

The Cambridges were mocked during the visit for a "tone deaf" photo of them shaking hands with Jamaican children through a wire fence.

The leader of the Labour party, Sir Keir Starmer, reacted to slavery speech by telling LBC's Nick Ferrari that the duke "could have gone further", but acknowledged "it's a difficult one".

"I think that he may go further in the future," he said.