Prince Edward and his wife the Countess of Wessex have canceled part of their upcoming royal Caribbean tour at short notice.
The royal couple were due to travel to Grenada as part of a six-day trip from Friday which will see them visit a number of countries to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee year.
It was announced on Thursday that Grenada had been removed from the itinerary, with no official explanation yet.
However, it comes days after new details emerged regarding Britain’s role in enslaving black people in the island nation when it was a colony.
Research commissioned by the Bank of England following the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests recently found that ownership of two plantations and 599 people passed to the financial institution in the early 1770s.
The names of the 599 slaves can be seen in the free exhibition, launched last week, at the Bank’s museum on Threadneedle Street in central London.
Although the Bank of England has previously apologized for its historical ties to the slave trade, this idea of its direct black ownership has upset the Caribbean diaspora and, in particular, the descendants of those who were enslaved under the regime that traded in sugar, coffee and Africans.
In consultation with the Government of Grenada and on the advice of the Governor General, the visit of the Earl and Countess of Wessex to Grenada has reportedly been postponed, although they hope to visit at a later date .
Ambassador Arley Gill, Chairman of the Grenada National Reparations Committee, said: “This exhibit at the Bank of England Museum in London reminds us now – if we were not aware of it before – of the exploitation of Grenada in as a colony of Britain and its institutions, and should intensify our urgent call to action for all Grenadians to join the fight for reparations and restorative justice for the descendants of those reduced to slavery here in Grenada”
“The time has come for the British government and the descendants of the British elites who profited from the enslavement of our ancestors to admit this heinous crime against humanity – and do the right thing,” he said. he adds.
“As an institution, the Bank of England has never been directly involved in the slave trade, but is aware of certain inexcusable links involving former governors and directors and apologizes for them,” the statement said. Bank of England in a previous press release.
The transatlantic slave trade saw the transport of millions of people from Africa to the Caribbean and North America – which British monarchs and the elite class profited from during the 17th and 18th centuries.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex will instead travel to Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Antigua and Barbuda, from Friday April 22 to Thursday April 28.
Prince Edward – who is 14th to the throne and the Queen’s youngest child – and Countess Sophie, will celebrate “the islands’ culture, future and vibrancy” during their six-day trip, meeting communities, local entrepreneurs and artisans. , and young people,
The couple have reportedly revised their tour schedule to avoid “public relations mistakes” following criticism during the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s tour of Jamaica, Belize and the Bahamas.
Buckingham Palace has been contacted for comment.