King Charles in Kenya says ‘no excuses’ but gives no apology for colonial violence

Britain’s King Charles III and Queen Camilla arrive as guests of Kenyan President William Ruto at a state banquet on Tuesday.

Kenya, which is marking the 60th anniversary of its independence, was a relatively safe choice for Charles’s first Commonwealth trip. It has a warmer relationship with the United Kingdom than do some other former colonies.

Nonetheless, Britain, like other former colonial powers, is in a period of reckoning, and the king has been under pressure to address the legacy of decades of British rule in East Africa.British-Kenyan relations at the “official level are very good,” said Nicholas Westcott, a professor of diplomacy at SOAS University of London and former director of the Royal African Society, but “that’s not to say there’s not some difficult issues that go back to the colonial period.

There have been calls for Charles to acknowledge, in particular, the violent suppression carried out by British authorities in Kenya during the early reign of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. In the 1950s, British officials responded to what was known as the Mau Mau revolt — a movement to reclaim land and independence — with a brutal crackdown on the broader population.

As a constitutional monarch, Charles takes his cues from the British government and would not be expected to go beyond what the government has said. At the same time, as a new king, he seems to want to convey that he is personally sensitive to the issue.During the state banquet on Tuesday evening, Charles told assembled guests, “We must also acknowledge the most painful times of our long and complex relationship.

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