The statues of slave traders have come down; so too must the slave-trading Royals – Liberal article
Around the world statues of individuals who made their wealth from the slave trade are coming down. The most famous of these in Bristol. I think it is time we move these statues to museums. The world is changing. However, we should remember how the world was in order to make sure it never returns. We can’t change the past, but we can make tomorrow a better world. In the UK, one of the ultimate symbols of our slave-trading past is the Royal Family.
However, unlike the statues coming down, this symbol continues today. The Royal family is already under scrutiny due to the actions of Prince Andrew, the Duke of York. Therefore, let me tell you about a different Duke of York; James Stuart. Some might recognise James Stuart as James II, who was removed from the throne during the glorious revolution.
James II was an important figure behind the creation of the Royal African Company. It monopolised all slave trade under the British Crown until his removal. Despite this, the British Monarchy continued to hold a complete monopoly up until 1752, when the Royal African Company became the African Company of Traders.
Unsurprisingly, Edward Colston had a very large part to play in this story. Not only was he a critical shareholder in the Royal African Company, but he also handed his ownership in the company to the Royal family once William III of England began his reign.
The whole of British slavery, from its beginning and for most of its lifetime, was owned and operated entirely by the Royal Family. No wonder Prince Charles needs to make statements condemning his ancestors.
Let me ask you, do you want to see the removal of celebratory symbols of oppression and slavery? If your answer is yes, then I challenge you to try and defend the continued existence of the Royal family. The only defence maybe is ‘well why does it matter now?’.
Then why does it matter taking down these statues? The gold that the Royals hold is descended from slave traders. I mean British taxpayers were still paying off the debt the UK had to pay to slave traders until 2018! We were still paying slave traders families up until 2 years ago!
The Royal family transported 3.1 million Africans to the Caribbean and further. I know most for would see this as an acceptable reason to remove the Royals.
Royals such as Prince Charles have come out on multiple occasions to condemn their ancestors. However, we continue to see them use their status to get out of paying the price for their actions. We saw this happen with Prince Andrew and his affairs with Jefferey Epstein. His punishment was to basically retire into a life of luxury.
The cost of their upkeep is huge. A family that made millions on the slave trade are now being upheld by British taxpayers. In 2018-19, we paid £67 million towards the Royal family. This is expected to rise to £85.7 million with upcoming renovations to castles such as Buckingham Palace. This is not including that ‘the Crown Estate surplus for the financial year 2016-17 amounted to £328.8 million’. The Queen’s estates make £328.8 million a year, and yet we top that off with an extra £67 million? Bear in mind, that is the Queen’s estates alone.
Not to mention, travel for just Prince Charles in a single year reaches nearly £800,000 in just one year.
What could this £67 million be spent on instead? We could increase police officers by 20,000 overnight (this would cost £55 million). We could double the amount increased to fight homelessness (£54 million was added this year). Companies could be made to ensure they pay workers minimum wage (currently £28 million a year). Help reduce foreign climate change (currently spending £87 million a year). Can you imagine the huge help this money could be to improving the world? Instead, it is currently being wasted on a family already reeling in cash.
I do not agree, but can understand if you believe the Royals should stay. Even despite their stupid budget and obvious atrocities. However, please do not be like others, and just draw a line under this and say ‘it’s water under the bridge.’
Written by Liberal Writer, Max Anderson
Point of Information
Statues and the Royal family are different – a Conservative Response
This article argues that the removal of the Royal family and statues are one and the same. This is not the case. The removal of the statues of certain historic leaders and public figures is long overdue and something I wholeheartedly believe is right. However, I do not share the same belief about the Royal family.
There is a very important difference. These statues glorify fixed historical figures of oppression whilst the Royal family are ever-evolving. In attempting to argue their removal, Max uses Prince Charles’ condemnation of his ancestors. If anything this example adheres to my argument. This illustrates the evolution of the current Royal family which no longer stands for the same principles as their predecessors.
The history of Britain involves the shameful perpetuation of the slave trade. As Max discusses, the Royal family played a major role in this. This involvement is inexcusable and should not be forgotten. Nevertheless, the Royal family has announced a deep disdain for the actions of their ancestors.
Following this, it is now the responsibility of the modern Royal family to participate fully in the BLM movement. The removal of the Royal family is not the answer. On the contrary, the support of the Royal family in the fight against any present or future racism would be invaluable.
In respect to Max’s further remarks regarding their cost. From their contribution to the tourism industry to the high levels of charity work they fulfil, the benefits of the current reinvented Royals ensure they are more than worth it. I have previously written a more in-depth defence for POI. If you want to read more, you can here!
Written by Chief Conservative Writer, Fletcher Kipps
Let’s remove outdated British relics, starting with the Royal family – a Labour Response
I’ve already made my opposition to the British Monarchy more than clear on this site before. Learning that they were not only implicated but actively involved in the slave trade only strengthens my feelings. Max does a great job here of showing how the suffering of the past still lingers.
Because of this, and many more reasons, continuing to support the Royals brings only shame to our country. Statements condemning past atrocities are only skin-deep responses to an issue that is so much more severe.
You only have to look at how Meghan Markle has been treated by some vile right-wing supporters in this country to see that racial prejudice is still tied to how some of our society worships the Windsors. She was ostracised because she is mixed race. It’s that simple.
I’m not saying that all fans of the Crown are racist, not by a long shot. However, we have to understand that the systemic entrenchment of privilege upon which the Monarchy was built is still underpinned by intersectional issues such as race. If we do not condemn that, then we are complicit.
What does it say to people of colour in this country when so many of the figures that are held in high esteem, like Churchill, were so staggeringly racist? We have turned a blind eye for far too long.
The UK, and especially England, is long overdue an almighty reckoning with our disgusting and racist past, which spanned the entirety of our Empire. This past now takes more insidious forms today. Pretty words are not enough. We need to take action to dismantle these discriminatory symbols, and I think we should start at the top.
Written by Chief Labour Writer, Evan Saunders
I am currently in my second year of reading Politics at the University of Exeter. My first interaction with politics was at the tender age of four years old.
I am an incoming third year undergraduate currently studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Exeter. I am socially liberal, fiscally conservative editor here at POI. I have been fascinated by politics for many years, from PMQs to late night election results all which has led to the desire to study this at university.
I’m a third year University of Manchester student, currently studying in Lyon on my Erasmus year (by sheer coincidence I’m writing this hours after parliament has voted to end British involvement in the 30 year programme, so just to be on the safe side I promise not to use the NHS/European Declaration of Human Rights/anything at all anytime soon).