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Prince William expresses 'profound sorrow’ over 'abhorrent' slavery

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended a State Dinner

The Duke of Cambridge has expressed his “profound sorrow” over slavery, calling it “abhorrent” and adding: “It should never have happened.”

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William told guests at a State Dinner hosted by Jamaica’s Governor General Sir Patrick Linton Allen: “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. I want to express my profound sorrow. Slavery was abhorrent. And it should never have happened." 

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WATCH: Prince William and Kate Middleton meet PM of Jamaica

He said he was raising the issue in a week which marks the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

He went on: “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.”

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The pair attended the State Dinner hosted by Jamaica’s Governor General Sir Patrick Linton Allen

William also praised the Windrush Generation, who emigrated from the Caribbean to the UK to help it rebuild after World War Two, saying: “We are forever grateful for the immense contribution that this generation and their descendants have made to British life, which continues to enrich and improve our society.”

He and Kate, were guests of honour at the State Dinner at King’s House, Sir Patrick’s official residence. The Duke also spoke of the royal family’s affection for Jamaica, saying: “All my family have enjoyed their visits here so much. They have waxed lyrical about the warmth and sense of fun of the Jamaican people and the beauty of this island. 

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Prince William and Kate were the guests of honour

“Already in our short time here, Catherine and I are delighted to have felt what Bob Marley described so many years ago – the spirit of ‘One love’ that Jamaica has given to the world and which makes this country so special.”

He went on: “I’m particularly pleased tonight to convey the very best wishes from my grandmother, The Queen of Jamaica, on the occasion of her Platinum Jubilee.

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 “It is no secret that The Queen has a deep affection for Jamaica, forged on her very first visit here with my grandfather, The Duke of Edinburgh, in 1953.”

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William praised his grandmother during his speech

Saying he had been touched to hear from Jamaicans of their affection for his grandmother, adding: “Her dedication, commitment, and sense of duty to the Commonwealth family is deeply admired. She may be my actual grandmother, but everyone counts her as their grandmother too. And I’m ok with that!” 

MORE: Prince William and Kate arrive in Jamaica for royal tour amid protests

William also joked about his turn on the football pitch with Kingston College players and international stars Raheem Sterling and Leon Bailey. He said: “Leon plays for the best football team in the world, the mighty Aston Villa! As for me, yet again, I blazed wide from five yards. It was more like ten!

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Prince William said he wished he had more time to spend in Jamaica

And he again raised the situation in Ukraine, telling guests: “Catherine and I were deeply moved by the plight of the Jamaican students who have recently returned safely from Ukraine. Their experiences are a reminder of the terrifying toll and inequality of war and conflicts across the world, which we must never forget.”

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Ending his speech, William said: “Catherine and I only wish we had more time to spend with you all in Jamaica.  I hope this will be one of many visits. And next time we’d love to bring our children too.” 

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