Prince William and the royal family “must be critically involved in” discussions about reparations for slavery, Guyana’s president said as the future king visited New York.
The Prince of Wales was on the East Coast to promote his Earthshot Prize, which funds solutions to the climate emergency, but his trip also sparked a debate about colonialism on Good Morning Britain, a major U.K. news show.
Guyanese President Irfaan Ali was also in New York for a Clinton Global Initiative meeting at the Hilton Midtown on September 19, 2023, and was asked in a pre-recorded interview about the monarchy and reparations.
“There must be reparations,” he told Good Morning Britain. “It’s an issue that they must be critically involved in and they must take concrete steps in order to bring some form of justice.”
Ali then appeared live on the U.K. breakfast show on September 20 where he clashed with host Richard Madeley on the subject.
“You are one of the beneficiaries of that slave trade so this is not a burden,” he said.
“You should be concerned and you should pay because you today still benefit from the greatest indignity to the human being and that is the slave trade.
“During slavery, resources were used to build your country, build up your capacity. You were able to then become competitive, able to invest in mechanization and developing countries like ours were left behind, so you should be very concerned because you are prime beneficiaries of [the] exploits of slavery.”
Madeley said: “It’s about the gestures. And you think that the British royal family should make a big gesture, don’t you? What do you mean? Hand over a palace to your country?”
“Well, no,” Ali replied. “We don’t want the British to hand over a palace that we built.”
Regalrumination.com has contacted Kensington Palace via email for comment.
The move comes as Caribbean nations like Jamaica and Grenada prepare to pursue reparations from King Charles III’s monarchy directly.
Professor Rosalea Hamilton, a Jamaican academic and campaigner, helped organize protests calling for slavery reparations when William and Kate Middleton visited Jamaica in March 2022.
She recently told Regalrumination.com: “All of these channels should be explored. I think there is no question of the debt that’s owed, and it’s well established now. The only question is when and the terms of the repayment.
“I don’t think the British royal family can run away from it indefinitely.”
William Brown is Regalrumination.com‘s chief royal correspondent based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @TheCrownUp and read his stories on Regalrumination.com’s The Royals Facebook page.
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