Prince William Calls Britain's Role in Slave Trade 'Abhorrent' During Speech in Jamaica

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Prince William expressed "profound sorrow" for the role Britain played in the horrific slave trade. 

On Wednesday evening, William and his wife, Kate Middleton, attended a dinner hosted by Governor General of Jamaica, Sir Patrick Allen, at King's House in Jamaica, where he made a landmark speech that acknowledged his country's role in the trafficking of people to the Caribbean and the United States.

"I strongly agree with my father, The Prince of Wales, who said in Barbados last year that the appalling atrocity of slavery forever stains our history," the Duke of Cambridge said, referencing his dad, Prince Charles. "I want to express my profound sorrow. Slavery was abhorrent, and it should never have happened. While the pain runs deep, Jamaica continues to forge its future with determination, courage and fortitude."

The 39-year-old royal continued, "While the pain runs deep, Jamaica continues to forge its future with determination, courage and fortitude. The strength and shared sense of purpose of the Jamaican people, represented in your flag and motto, celebrate an invincible spirit."

As the couple arrived in Jamaica, news broke that "a coalition of Jamaican politicians, business leaders, doctors and musicians" were pressing the country to sever ties with the British monarchy and to change the country's status to a republic. The coalition reportedly sent an open letter to William and Kate about their intention to remove Queen Elizabeth II as the head of state. The royal family has not publicly commented on this. 

This hasn't been the only controversy the royals have faced during their royal tour. Earlier this week, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were slated to visit a cacao farm in Belize but instead visited a different part of the country after local villagers protested. Reuters reported that Kensington Palace confirmed the schedule change due to "sensitive issues" involving the Indian Creek community.

According to the international news agency, local villagers grew furious after claiming they were not consulted about the royals' visit to a farm in the Mayan village. The group was also upset that the royal couple was scheduled to land their helicopter on land that's at the center of an ownership rights dispute. Reuters reported that the Mayan village is in a land dispute with Fauna & Flora International (FFI), a conservation group which lists William as a patron. Local residents were photographed last Friday holding signs that read, "Colonial legacy of theft continues with Prince & FFI." Another sign read, "Not your land, not your decision."

The controversies surrounding William and Kate's eight-day tour, which wraps up this weekend, come nearly four months after Barbados formally removedQueen Elizabeth as head of state.

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