King Charles III has for the first time expressed support for research into the relationship between the British monarchy and slavery after a document revealed an ancestor owned a stake in a slave trading company, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said on Thursday.
The palace said Charles took the issue “very seriously” and that academics would be given access to royal collections and archives.
The statement came in response to a Guardian article revealing documents showing that the vice-president of the slave-trading Royal African Company transferred a £1,000 stake in the business to King William III in 1689.
The paper reported on the document as part of a series of reports on the royal wealth and finances, and The Monarchy and Slavery Link.
Charles ascended the throne last year following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. His coronation is scheduled for May 6.
Charles and his eldest son, Prince William, expressed their grief over slavery but did not acknowledge the royal family’s ties to the trade.
The king has said he is working to gain a better understanding of the “lasting effects of slavery” that are deeply ingrained in the Commonwealth, an international bloc mainly made up of former British colonies.
At the ceremony that marked Barbados as a republic two years ago, Charles referred to “the darkest days of our past and the appalling atrocities of slavery, which stain our history forever.” British settlers used African slaves to turn the island into a a wealthy sugar colony.
Research into the relationship between the monarchy and slavery is co-sponsored by Historic Royal Palace and the University of Manchester and is due to be completed in 2026.