In the opening speech at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, on Friday, the Prince of Wales expressed his “personal sorrow” over slavery as he urged that “we find new ways to acknowledge our past.”
The heir to the throne also said it was up to individual countries to decide if they will keep the Queen as head of state or become republics in the future. Prince Charles is addressing the shame of Britain’s role in slavery.
“I cannot describe the depths of my personal sorrow at the suffering of so many, as I continue to deepen my own understanding of slavery’s enduring impact,” he said. “Many of those wrongs belong to an earlier age with different – and, in some ways lesser – values. By working together, we are building a new and enduring friendship.”
The 73-year-old royal heir, who arrived in the African country earlier this week with his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is representing his mother Queen Elizabeth, who is the head of the Commonwealth of 54 nations tied to the U.K. Charles also used his speech to reiterate the royal family’s longstanding position that it is up to member states if they want to move toward becoming a republic and drop the Queen as head of state.