HAVE you ever watched Who Do You Think You Are?, the TV show where a willing celebrity discovers their often-horrific family history?
There are great-great-great-great-grandfathers who were once sent to a borstal for stealing a penny farthing or cousins 16 times removed who made a fortune from running brothels.
Usually there’s a lot of tears and drama as the stars find out the grim reality of their past even though they can’t be held responsible for something they had no knowledge of long before they were born.
It can be upsetting viewing. Presenter Alex Scott was in tears when told one of her Jamaican ancestors owned 26 slaves in the 1820s, and singer Marvin Humes was horrified to discover his four times great grandfather was a slave master.
We all know slavery is disgusting, it ruined millions of lives and blighted societies.
But in the 17th and 18th century the buying and selling of human beings was considered a lawful business.
It means many families may have inadvertently inherited wealth from slavery.
One of those is the Royal Family. This week it was revealed that King Charles has backed research into his ancestors and previous monarchs who were involved with transatlantic slavery companies.
He takes the issue of slavery “profoundly seriously”.
Rightly so. The research started in October and is being conducted at the University of Manchester.
Charles kept quiet about it until this week, when an American historian unearthed a document — dating to 1689 — revealing King William III was gifted shares in a slave-trading company by Edward Colston, who was the company’s deputy governor.
Colston was a notorious slave boss and was also involved in the high-profile case of the Church of England, which made a fortune through a fund in the 1700s which invested in a company which transported slaves in “inhumane conditions”.
Years on, that fund is used to provide pensions for the clergy. Earlier this year, the Church committed £100million to address the “shameful” wrongs of their links to transatlantic chattel slavery.
And now the focus has shifted to the Royal Family, at a time when all we should be focused on is King Charles’s Coronation.
He must stand firm
King Charles says he won’t decide what action he will take on the matter until the research ends in three years and he finds out just how involved his predecessors actually were in slavery.
Then, it would seem, Charles has one of three choices to make: Apologise, pay reparations or give money to a charity.
Whatever he does he will be criticised because he can never make up for the wrongs of all those years ago — and why should he?
Just like the celebrities on Who Do You Think You Are?, he can’t be held accountable for something his family did centuries ago.
King Charles is known for being passionate and caring, but in this case he needs to be stand firm and not pay compensation of any kind because the modern family should not have to pay for the sins of the past.
Charles said last year that we “must find new ways to acknowledge our past” and it is a “conversation whose time has come”.
Yes it has. And that is exactly what he should do — discuss the past and how we can move forward while making sure we live together in a much more just world.
Because if he starts dishing out cash for the mistakes of a man who died 321 years ago, where will it ever end?
If Charles starts dishing out cash for the mistakes of someone who is his great-great-great-great-grandmother’s uncle’s great-great-grandmother’s uncle, where will it ever end?
John’s loss is so sad
MY heart goes out to John Lydon, whose beloved wife Nora died this week.
Last year he told The Sun on Sunday how he’d secretly gone on The Masked Singer US to make fan Nora happy.
Johnny said: “The silliness makes her laugh. I pre-recorded the episode and came back to the house to watch it with her without telling her that I’d done it.
“Before my song came to an end she guessed it was me, saying, ‘That’s you’. It was just the most wonderful gift because sometimes she doesn’t recognise me at all because she has Alzheimer’s.”
He may once have been a hellraising Sex Pistol but all Johnny Rotten really cared about in recent years was his wife, who he clearly adored.
Why I’m an Easter grinch
REMEMBER back in the day, when Easter was all about a Christian festival and a few chocolate eggs.
Now it feels like Christmas madness all over again and has turned me into the Easter Grinch.
This week I had the displeasure of rocking up to my son’s nursery to be told it was having an Easter bonnet decorating competition.
I did an emergency supermarket shop and found shelves packed with Easter crackers, wreaths and gonks – and a bonnet-making kit that cost £20.
I did the sensible thing the next day and turned up to nursery looking absolutely devastated as I claimed I’d stupidly forgotten to bring in the amazing competition-winning bonnet we had spent hours crafting at home.
My four- year-old just looked a bit bemused as I shoved him through the door and ran off.
Chris under a cloud over Alzheimer’s threat
THOR actor Chris Hemsworth is 39 and has been told he’s ten times more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease than the average person, after taking a gene test.
The poor man is now, unsurprisingly, taking a step back from acting to spend time with his family.
It made me want to get a test myself. But Chris had his while filming a docu series for Disney+, so I imagine mere mortals like you and me wouldn’t be able to get – or afford – one.
And I realised that may not be such a bad thing because living in fear of something that may never happen must be horrific.
CHRIS EUBANK’S latest actions prove, without doubt, that he is an arrogant plonker.
The former boxer loves smoking cannabis and when he went into the reality show Scared Of The Dark he stupidly expected Channel 4 bosses to allow him to puff away on the illegal drug.
When they refused, and his jitters got the better of him, he quit the show.
Maybe a return to the ring would knock some sense into him.
Blokes have it easier
WHEN women want to look younger we resort to fancy haircuts, creams with claims of magical results or even Botox.
But Ed Sheeran has proved that blokes have it a lot easier.
He’s just shaved off his beard and suddenly looks as though he’s about to sit his GCSEs.
Ana is selfish on tot
SPANISH TV star Ana Obregon says her son Aless told her, before he died from cancer in 2020, aged 27, that he wanted to be a father.
She encouraged him to have his sperm frozen and now, with the help of a surrogate, she has helped to bring his daughter into the world.
Nobody can blame a mother for wanting to have another child – or for fulfilling her son’s dying wishes.
But when you are 68, as she is, I think it’s utterly dreadful. She said this week: “I will never be alone again.”
You might not be, but I bet that baby girl will be.
I doubt her son would really have wanted that.
A perfect mix
THERE’S a new delicacy in the freezer aisles at Iceland that everyone is going nuts for.
Yorkshire puddings crammed full of lasagne. What is not to love?
That’s Sunday dinner sorted . . . this mum is off to Iceland.
Bloat is sunk
THE Government has decided that fat fishermen need to ditch the blubber or get out of their boats.
New rules, which are due to start in November, will mean that they all need a BMI of 35 or under.
Bloaters above that mark are seen as a risk to themselves and others and could put pressure on emergency services.
Looks like there could be a lot less jolly fishermen out at sea because they’re all going to be on miserable diets.
The Captain Birdseye of my youth wouldn’t have a chance of getting a job these days.