For the first time, King Charles III has expressed support for research into the British monarchy’s ties to slavery after a document emerged that revealed an ancestor with shares in a slave-trading company, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said Thursday.

Charles takes research into the monarchy’s slavery ties “profoundly seriously”  and will give researchers access to royal documents and archives, the palace said, per The Associated Press.

The statement from the palace came as a response to previously unseen documents that highlighted the British monarchy’s involvement in slave trade were published by The Guardian. The documents were found in the archives by the historian Brooke Newman.

The documents show a 1689 transfer of £1,000 of shares in the slave-trading Royal African Company from Edward Colston, the company’s deputy governor, to King William III.

King Charles claims he hopes to broaden his understanding of “slavery’s enduring impact,” according to statement from a royal spokesperson, per The Guardian.

“As His Majesty told the Commonwealth heads of government reception in Rwanda last year: ‘I cannot describe the depths of my personal sorrow at the suffering of so many, as I continue to deepen my own understanding of slavery’s enduring impact.’” per The Guardian.

“That process has continued with vigour and determination since His Majesty’s accession. Historic Royal Palaces is a partner in an independent research project, which began in October last year, that is exploring, among other issues, the links between the British monarchy and the transatlantic slave trade during the late 17th and 18th centuries.”

“As part of that drive, the royal household is supporting this research through access to the royal collection and the royal archives” added the royal spokesperson, per The Guardian.

The investigation, run by Camilla de Koning, a history Ph.D. at the University of Manchester, will dive into the monarchy’s history of involvement in transatlantic slave trade and how it supported the expansion of the British empire.

De Koning’s study is expected to wrap up in fall 2026, per the New York Post.

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