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Prince William expresses 'profound sorrow' over slavery

Jamaica's Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, listen as Britain's Prince William delivers a speech during a dinner hosted by the Governor General of Jamaica Patrick Allen and his wife Patricia on the fifth day of his tour of the Caribbean, Kingston, Jamaica, March 23, 2022. Picture: Reuters/Toby Melville/Pool

Jamaica's Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, listen as Britain's Prince William delivers a speech during a dinner hosted by the Governor General of Jamaica Patrick Allen and his wife Patricia on the fifth day of his tour of the Caribbean, Kingston, Jamaica, March 23, 2022. Picture: Reuters/Toby Melville/Pool

Published Mar 24, 2022

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Prince William has expressed his "profound sorrow" over slavery during a speech in Jamaica.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended an official dinner and reception hosted by the Governor General of Jamaica at King’s House in Kingston, Jamaica, on Wednesday, where the 39-year-old royal denounced the "abhorrent" slave trade.

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Speaking on the couple's fifth day of their Caribbean tour, he said: "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.

"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."

William also insisted his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, has a "deep affection" for Jamaica.

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He said: "It is no secret that the queen has a deep affection for Jamaica, forged on her very first visit here with my grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, in 1953.

"And likewise, I have been touched to hear today from Jamaicans, young and old, about their affection for the queen.

"Her dedication, commitment, and sense of duty to the Commonwealth family is deeply admired.

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"She may be my actual grandmother, but everyone counts her as their grandmother too. And I'm OK with that."

William's words come after Jamaica's Prime Minister Andrew Holness confirmed to the duke and duchess that the country is seeking to become "independent".

The British royals' arrival on the Caribbean island on Tuesday was marked by protests seeking slave reparations from the monarchy amid calls for the country to drop the queen as head of state.

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The Prime Minister told the couple: "We're very, very happy to have you and we hope you've received a warm welcome of the people.

"Jamaica is a very free and liberal country and the people are very expressive - and I'm certain that you would have seen the spectrum of expressions yesterday.

"There are issues here, which as you know, are unresolved, but your presence gives us an opportunity for those issues to be placed in context, to be out front and centre and to be addressed as best we can.

"But Jamaica is, as you would see, is a country that is proud of its history and very proud of what we have achieved.

"And we're moving on and we intend to ... fulfil our true ambitions and destiny to become an independent, developed and prosperous country."

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