Prince Charles has told Commonwealth leaders he cannot describe “the depths of his personal sorrow” at the suffering caused by the slave trade, BBC Africa reports.
The major Atlantic slave-trading nations, ordered by trade volume, were the Portuguese, the British, the Spanish, the French, the Dutch, and the Danish. Several had established outposts on the African coast where they purchased slaves from local African leaders.
Speaking in Rwanda, Prince Charles said the potential of the family of nations could only be realised by acknowledging the wrongs that had “shaped our past”.
Charles added it was up to states to decide if they remained monarchies or became republics in the future.
Some 54 countries are members of the Commonwealth, of which the Queen is the head.
Prince Charles is representing the Queen at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
He said he was aware the roots of the Commonwealth organisation “run deep into the most painful period of our history” and said acknowledging the wrongs of the past was a “conversation whose time has come”. He added:
I cannot describe the depths of my personal sorrow at the suffering of so many.
The Prince of Wales also told leaders their diversity was a strength they could use to “speak up for the values which bind us”.