Royal slaver statues must be part of wider review

10 June 2020

Campaigners have written to Sadiq Khan asking him not to ignore the legacy of British monarchs when reviewing statues and monuments.

The London Mayor has announced a commission to review public monuments and landmarks following the tearing down of the Colston statue in Bristol this week.

Graham Smith of Republic has written to Khan pointing out that British monarchs "facilitated, financed, promoted and defended the slave trade" for three hundred years.

The letter says:

"This might be a controversial and uncomfortable point, but a review of how we represent and celebrate our past cannot ignore this elephant in the room."

"As late as the early nineteenth century, while still Prince of Wales, William IV was doing his best to frustrate the abolitionist cause from his position in the House of Lords."

"The wealth and prosperity enjoyed by Queen Victoria was in no small part the result of her family’s involvement in the slave trade and the Queen’s own support for the expansion of the British empire during her reign."

The letter concludes that if royal statues and monuments are ignored:

"any moves to question which legacies are being celebrated or to challenge the way we remember Britain’s involvement in slavery, will be compromised on the altar of deference to royalty"

Read the full letter


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