King Charles Supports Probe into Royal Family’s Slavery Links for the First Time


For the first time, King Charles has expressed support for research into the monarchy’s ties to the slave trade, after an American historian discovered a document revealing one of his predecessors had shares in a slaving firm.

After a ledger revealed that King William III was given shares in the Royal African Company, Buckingham Palace stated that Charles took the issue of his family’s links to slavery “profoundly seriously.”


The document, which dates from 1689 and was discovered in a royal archive by Virginia-based historian Dr. Brooke Newman, shows a transfer of £1,000 in shares in the business from its governor, Edward Colston, to William of Orange.

The document demonstrates that William held shares in the Royal African Company while constructing Kensington Palace, which became his home and is now the official London residence of the Princess and Princess of Wales.


Buckingham Palace did not comment on the document, which was published in the Guardian, but did say the royals supported a study into the monarchy’s ties to slavery.


A palace spokesman said: ‘This is an issue that His Majesty takes profoundly seriously.


‘As His Majesty told the Commonwealth heads of government reception in 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”.


‘That process has continued with vigour and determination since His Majesty’s accession.


‘Historic Royal Palaces is a partner in an independent research project, which began in October last year, that is exploring, among other issues, the links between the British monarchy and the transatlantic slave trade during the late 17th and 18th centuries.’


The palace spokesman added: ‘As part of that drive, the royal household is supporting this research through access to the royal collection and the royal archives.’


Historic Royal Palaces is the charity that manages some of the UK’s unoccupied royal palaces.


Colston was a wealthy merchant and philanthropist who was previously immortalized in a statue in Bristol before it was thrown into the city’s harbour during Black Lives Matter protests in June 2020.


While the King has previously stated the importance of Britain being ‘open’ about its role in the slave trade, this is believed to be the first time Buckingham Palace has openly stated that it supports research into the royal family’s connections to it.

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