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Probe launched into royal palaces' links to slavery

HISTORIAN Lucy Worsley launched an investigation today into the royal palaces’ links to slavery.

The chief curator of Historic Royal Palaces said a probe into the residences’ links to the slave trade was “long overdue.”

She insisted that the charity – which looks after Kensington Palace, the Tower of London and Hampton Court – has a duty to make any historical connections public.

The inquiry comes after the National Trust released a report highlighting links to slavery and colonialism in 93 of the properties it manages.

It detailed how properties, including Winston Churchill’s home Chartwell, were connected to plantation owners, people who gained their wealth from the slave trade and those involved in colonial expansion and administration.

Ms Worsley said she wished that her organisation had acted sooner in commencing its own investigation, adding that the National Trust was “ahead of the game.”

“We’ve been thinking really hard and planning all sorts of changes,” she said.

“The time has come. We’re behind. We haven’t done well enough.”

According to Ms Worsley, all properties used by the Stuart dynasty were “going to have an element of money derived from slavery” within them.

The Stuarts played a key role in the slave trade when King Charles II granted a charter to the Royal African Company, of which his brother King James II was a member.

Ms Worsley said that there was a “challenging” side to British history which the country “is good at sidelining in favour of supporting the tourist industry.”

She added: “It is always great to push people a bit into an uncomfortable and darker direction, because then you can see the historical causes of things like social injustice.”

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