The King will acknowledge head-on the ‘more painful’ aspects of Britain’s colonial relationship with Kenya when he embarks on his first Commonwealth visit since his accession tomorrow.
He is set to address the issue – including atrocities perpetuated during the Mau Mau rebellion – when he gives a return toast at a state banquet in Nairobi thrown in his honour by President William Ruto and the First Lady.
Charles is unable to offer an official apology, despite calls by activists who also want Britain to pay further damages over human rights abuses dating back to the 1950s.
This is because he is visiting at the request of the British Government, which, while having already paid out nearly £20million in compensation, has not apologised.
President Ruto, who invited the British monarch, is also said to be keen that the royal visit looks to the future. However, the King, who through earlier trips to France and Germany as well his handling of the Middle East crisis has proved an adept statesman, is determined not to sidestep the issue.
King Charles will acknowledge head-on the ‘more painful’ aspects of Britain’s colonial relationship with Kenya when he embarks on his first Commonwealth visit since his accession tomorrow
Anti-monarchy and republican protestors demonstrate under UK flags in Piccadilly in central London in May
Charles is set to address the issue – including atrocities perpetuated during the Mau Mau rebellion – when he gives a return toast at a state banquet in Nairobi
And it is thought that the banquet, which is set to include his first major public address of the trip, will be the perfect occasion.
One royal source said: ‘The way His Majesty addresses the subject will be with the great diplomacy, humanity and humility he brings to all difficult subjects, just as he did on state visits to France and Germany, with whom the UK’s relationships had been strained for different reasons.’
The King’s deputy private secretary Chris Fitzgerald has already said the monarch will acknowledge ‘the more painful aspects of the United Kingdom and Kenya’s shared history’ – including the 1952 ‘Emergency’ or Mau Mau Revolt – as the country approaches its 60th anniversary of independence in November. The British colonial presence in Kenya formally began in 1895, with the country becoming a British colony in 1920. In 1952, the British declared a State of Emergency after strikes and violent opposition led by the Mau Mau party.
The Kenya Human Rights Commission say 90,000 Kenyans were executed, tortured or maimed in Britain’s crackdown. In 2013, the UK made a historic statement of regret and paid out £19.9million to around 5,200 Kenyans. But campaigners still want an apology.