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British royal commentator rejects calls for reparations on CNN after passing of Queen Elizabeth

Hillary Fordwich says reparations should be sought from the African rulers who enabled slavery in the first place

SHARE British royal commentator rejects calls for reparations on CNN after passing of Queen Elizabeth

Don Lemon attends the world premiere of “Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives” at Radio City Music Hall, during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, Wednesday, April 19, 2017, in New York.

Charles Sykes, Invision, Associated Press

A British royal commentator told CNN anchor Don Lemon that the people calling for the British royal family to pay reparations after Queen Elizabeth II’s death have not considered the lengths Britons made to end slavery around the world. She points out further the role of African rulers who participated in the slave trade, pushing back against those in the media and academia who have called for the royal family to make payments for their role in colonialism and the slave trade. 

During an interview with royal expert Hillary Fordwich, Lemon brought up the argument some people have made recently that reparations should be paid from the royal family’s estate for their family’s part in slavery and colonialism. 

“England is facing rising costs of living,” Lemon said, “and you have those who are asking for reparations for colonialism ... and some people want to be paid back and members of the public are wondering, why are we suffering when you have all of this vast wealth? Those are legitimate concerns.”

Fordwich responded by saying calls for reparations from the British royal family are misdirected, and that the aggrieved should instead go back to the beginning of the supply chain.

“Well I think you’re right about reparations in terms of — if people want it though, what they need to do is, you always need to go back to the beginning of the supply chain. Where was the beginning of the supply chain?” she asked. “That was in Africa.” 

She then detailed British efforts to end slavery not only in their kingdom, but around the world.

“Which was the first nation in the world that abolished slavery?” It was “the British,” Fordwich said to a surprised-looking Lemon. She added that two thousand British naval men died shutting down the slave trade on the high seas. 

Fordwich said the “African kings were rounding up their own people, they had them in cages waiting on the beaches, no one was running into Africa to get them.”

Fordwich also said that maybe the descendants of the naval men who died ending the slave trade on the high seas should receive compensation as well.

Lemon ended the conversation by thanking Fordwich for her comments.

The call for reparations on behalf of those sold into slavery, or those affected by colonialism has come from several people in the media. Sunny Hostin, a co-host on “The View,” said Queen Elizabeth “wore a crown with pillaged stones from India and Africa” and now Black communities want reparations.

Hostin called on King Charles III to atone for the United Kingdom’s participation in slavery and colonialism by providing reparations to Black people.

“I think we all love glam and pageantry,” she said. “I think, though, we can mourn the queen and not the empire,” she said.