Former BBC journalist Laura Trevelyan has called on the UK government and King Charles to make public apologies for their historical links to the slave trade. Trevelyan’s ancestors owned at least a thousand enslaved people on the island of Grenada in the Caribbean.
In February, Trevelyan traveled to the island, where she read out a formal apology on behalf of her family and pledged £100,000 ($124,000) towards an educational fund to benefit those islanders descended from those exploited by the slave trade.
Reckoning is coming
Trevelyan believes that the King and the British government should also apologize for their historical links to the slave trade.
She told The Times newspaper, “We’ve apologized, why can’t the King? Reckoning is coming. It’s important to acknowledge that Britain was a leading slave trader.
Britain’s economic prosperity, and particularly the Industrial Revolution, was to some degree built on wealth accumulated through slavery.
An apology is the first step, which is why it’s so significant that the British government and royal family haven’t apologized. Regret is expressed. I think it’s necessary to go further.”
Historical Links to the slave trade
The Guardian newspaper published a document earlier this month, showing for the first time the official transfer in 1689 of £1,000 worth of shares in the slave-trading Royal African Company to King William III.
Buckingham Palace responded by saying the new King will cooperate with a study of the monarchy’s ancestral links with transatlantic slavery.
Apology as the first step
An apology has been viewed by many as the first step towards reconciliation with the past, particularly in relation to the historical links to the slave trade.
Trevelyan’s call for apologies from the King and the UK government highlights the growing demand for acknowledgement of the past and the need for reparations for the descendants of those who were enslaved.
Britain’s leading role in the slave trade
The slave trade was a significant part of Britain’s economic prosperity, with the country playing a leading role in the trade.
The wealth accumulated through slavery contributed to the Industrial Revolution and Britain’s position as a global power.
However, this legacy has also left a lasting impact on those who were enslaved, their descendants, and on wider society.
Buckingham Palace’s response to the call for apologies has been to announce that the new King will cooperate with a study of the monarchy’s ancestral links with transatlantic slavery.
The study will provide an opportunity for the monarchy to acknowledge its historical links with the slave trade and to explore ways in which it can make amends for the past.
The call for apologies from the King and the UK government highlights the growing demand for acknowledgement of the past and the need for reparations.
The legacy of the slave trade is a painful one, and its impact is still felt today.
As Trevelyan stated, “reckoning is coming”. It is now up to the King and the UK government to respond to this call and to take steps towards reconciliation with the past.