In the wake of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge’s recent debacle in Jamaica, Whoopi Goldberg has called on the British royal family to apologize directly for Britain’s role in colonialism and slavery. The royal couple was widely criticized by the people, with numerous demonstrations planned.
“Go back home!”
Anti-colonial activists in Jamaica protested for slavery reparations as Prince William and Kate Middleton arrived: “They must apologize.”
William is 2nd in line to become Jamaica’s head of state, but many wish to become a republic like Barbados did months ago. pic.twitter.com/DpnU1B8Buu
— AJ+ (@ajplus) March 22, 2022
Britain abolished the slave trade in 1807 but did not abolish slavery itself until 1833, after rebellions including one in Jamaica led by Samuel Sharpe.
The government paid the modern equivalent of $22 billion in reparations — not to enslaved people, but to former slave owners. pic.twitter.com/88MfRJGrCD
— AJ+ (@ajplus) March 22, 2022
The Prince’s remarks did nothing to help matters, as he uttered a tone-deaf speech in which he apologized for the slave trade while failing to offer an apology for or mention his family’s role in it, as revealed by Metro.
Speaking on an episode of The View, Goldberg remarked, “Britain ran ram shod over India for years… Let us not forget, when we talk about what needs to happen, all the folks that need to apologize. Listen, this is not new.”
Speaking of Prince Charles’s recent state visit to Barbados, which recently removed Queen Elizabeth as the country’s official head of state, Goldberg stated, “I suspect Charles, when he was in Barbados, had some idea because he went on and apologized as he was releasing the hold that Britain has. So perhaps somebody is listening, and it’s the new group of folks – I don’t know if it’s Charles, William, but one of them.”
William’s speech echoed many of the sentiments espoused by his father during his Barbados visit, where, according to Insider, he acknowledged the “appalling atrocity of slavery, which forever stains our history.”
Similarly, William stated,
“I strongly agree with my father, the Prince of Wales, who said in Barbados last year that the appalling atrocity of slavery forever stains our history. 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.”
Critics were quick to note that, notwithstanding his personal anguish and abhorrence, William did not apologize on behalf of his family or country, both of which derived incalculable benefits from the slave trade. It is a historical fact that the royal family fought against abolition in the eighteenth century.
Ras Iyah V, a prominent member of Jamaica’s Rastafari nyahbinghi movement, accused the royals of bathing in African nations’ riches just days before William’s speech.
“We can only forgive people who acknowledge that what they did was wrong and are willing to repair the breach of the wrongs they have committed. And today the British monarchy has a lot of African artifacts in their possession – they still bathe in the wealth that was extracted out of the blood, sweat, and tears, and lives of our people, and we have never been compensated for any form of enslavement.”
A committee in the Bahamas demanded reparations for slavery as Prince William and Kate Middleton arrived, saying British wealth was “built on the backs of our ancestors.”
The royals faced similar calls in Jamaica, where they expressed “sorrow” for slavery but did not apologize. pic.twitter.com/a6GWCFF4yC
— AJ+ (@ajplus) March 25, 2022