Last week on Jan. 10, Prince Harry of the royal family released his tell-all memoir “Spare,” and despite the record-breaking sales pace, the book is now in the news for controversial reasons.
Forbes reported on Wednesday (Jan. 11), a day after its release, that the book’s publisher, Penguin Random House, said the piece of literature sold over 1.4 million copies. Meanwhile, yesterday (Jan. 16), Gayle King of “CBS Mornings” reported that the Duke of Sussex admitted in “Spare” that his family made a fortune from the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
He acknowledged that his family once generated wealth from “exploited workers and thuggery, annexation and enslaved people.” While many people praise the British monarchy for its tradition, most people aren’t aware of the royal family’s historical involvement in the progression of slavery. Esther Stanford-Xosei, a lawyer and reparations expert, briefly educated “CBS Mornings” viewers on Harry’s family’s demoralizing past.
“I mean it goes all the way back to Elizabeth I,” explained Stanford-Xosei. “The British monarchy has been heavily involved in financing enslavement voyages of traffickers, but also beneficiaries of actual labor of enslaved Africans.”
She continued, “The governor of the Royal African Company was James II, otherwise known as the Duke of York. They also found ways of branding African people with the inscription ‘DY,’ for Duke of York.”
“The British monarchy has been heavily involved in financing enslavement voyages of traffickers”: A comment in Prince Harry’s book that his family made a fortune from the slave trade is reigniting talk of a disturbing part of the British royal family’s long history. pic.twitter.com/4Ad6afUDBM
— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) January 16, 2023
While the royal monarchy has never publicly apologized, modern members of the British family, including Prince William, Harry’s brother and the heir to the throne, have expressed sympathy for their ancestors connection to the slave trade.
“The appalling atrocity of slaver forever stains our history,” William said on a visit to Jamaica last year. “I want to express my profound sorrow.” Stanford-Xosei suggested that the royal family won’t apologize because it could cost them money and their reputation.
“The reason why he doesn’t go further is that he’s aware [of] what it will mean to actually apologize, in terms of the legal obligation to make reparation,” she explained. She added that William and his family feared it would cost the monarchy “not only money, but status… He will be exposing the criminality of this institution.”
“In terms of Prince Harry going this far, it’s really, really important,” Stanford-Xosei said. “We can see the establishment reaction, including… the establishment media, who are seeking to belittle him, demonize him because he is daring to speak universal truths and actually be in touch with the conscience of humanity.”