Revisited: Cost of the crown, part 3 – the hidden history of the monarchy and slavery – podcast | News

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  • Post published:December 29, 2023
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This week we are revisiting some of our favourite episodes. Today in Focus will return with new episodes on Tuesday 2 January 2024.

While other reporters in the Guardian investigations team travelled the UK looking at horses, jewels and artworks to help uncover the royal family’s hidden wealth, David Conn looked much further back in time for his part in the Cost of the crown project.

With the historian Brooke Newman, he dug into evidence that showed the British monarchy’s links with transatlantic slavery. What emerged was a newly surfaced document showing a 17th-century transaction: the transfer of £1,000 worth of shares in the Royal African Company to King William III.

It then emerged that direct ancestors of King Charles III and the royal family had bought and exploited enslaved people on tobacco plantations in Virginia, according to new research shared with the Guardian by the playwright Desirée Baptiste.

A spokesperson for the palace told us the king would support a study into the links between the British monarchy and the transatlantic slave trade by giving access to the royal archives and the royal collection. So far from the British state, there have been expressions of sorrow and a recognition of the horror of slavery, but no formal apology.

Illustration: Doug Chayka

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