Prince Charles Denounces 'Appalling Atrocity of Slavery' as Barbados Becomes Republic

Prince Charles denounced the "appalling atrocity of slavery" and praised Barbados as the country became a republic.

The future king watched as the Caribbean island removed Queen Elizabeth II as head of state and swore in its first president, Dame Sandra Mason.

When the move was announced in September 2020, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley said: "The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind."

And the Prince of Wales did not shy away from referencing that colonial past in his own address to the presidential inauguration ceremony, watched by Mottley, Mason and Barbadian popstar Rihanna, among others.

Prince Charles said in his speech: "The creation of this Republic offers a new beginning, but it also marks a point on a continuum—a milestone on the long road you have not only traveled, but which you have built.

"From the darkest days of our past, and the appalling atrocity of slavery, which forever stains our history, the people of this island forged their path with extraordinary fortitude. Emancipation, self-government and Independence were your waypoints. Freedom, justice and self-determination have been your guides. Your long journey has brought you to this moment, not as your destination, but as a vantage point from which to survey a new horizon."

The explicit reference to Britain's role in slavery comes after his second-born son Prince Harry and Meghan Markle triggered a global debate about racism and the royal family during an interview with Oprah Winfrey in March.

The Duchess of Sussex told Winfrey an unnamed royal expressed concern about how dark her unborn child's skin might be when he was born.

Clarence House has also been forced to issue a strong denial on behalf of Prince Charles over claims in a biography published in America by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster.

The book, Brothers and Wives, suggested Charles asked his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, what the couple's children might look like when born.

Extracts published by New York Post said Camilla replied: "Well, absolutely gorgeous, I'm certain."

The book said Charles then asked: "I mean, what do you think their children's complexion might be?"

The comment was, according to the author Christopher Andersen, made on the morning of the couple's engagement announcement on November 27, 2017, and spread around the palace by gossiping courtiers who gave the story "a racist spin."

A spokesperson for Prince Charles told the New York Post: "This is fiction and not worth further comment."

However, the timing brought racism allegations down on Prince Charles just as he was preparing to participate in the presidential inauguration ceremony in Barbados.

It came as a protest about slavery was denied a permit due to COVID-19 restrictions, The Independent reported.

The Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration and the 13th June 1980 group had planned a demonstration in Bridgetown hours before Charles' speech but were forced to cancel.

Prince Charles Denounces Slavery in Barbados
Prince Charles denounces the "atrocity" of slavery in a speech at the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony that made Barbados a Republic in Bridgetown, on November 30, 2021. Rihanna was also present. Jeff J Mitchell - Pool/Getty Images