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Prince Charles pays tribute in a video message marking Windrush Day

Prince Charles calls the ‘diversity of our society its greatest strength’ and pays tribute to the ‘invaluable contribution of black people in Britain’ in a video message marking Windrush Day

  • Prince Charles spoke of ‘debt of gratitude’ nation owes the Windrush generation
  • Spoke from his home office in a video message marking Windrush Day
  • Charles paid tribute to the ‘invaluable contribution of black people in Britain’
  • Thanked frontline workers for contribution during the coronavirus pandemic
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

By Jessica Rach For Mailonline

Published: | Updated:

The Prince of Wales has spoken of the ‘debt of gratitude’ the nation owes the Windrush generation.

Speaking from his home office in a video message marking Windrush Day, Charles paid tribute to the ‘invaluable contribution of black people in Britain’.

The royal also thanked all the frontline workers from Afro-Caribbean communities for their contribution during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Windrush generation was named after the ship that brought over one of the first groups of West Indian migrants invited to the UK in 1948 to help rebuild post-war Britain.

Over the next 25 years, thousands followed, taking jobs to fill shortages, particularly in the nascent NHS.

The day marks 72 years since the Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Docks in Essex, bearing around 500 people from Jamaica.

The Prince of Wales has spoken of the ‘debt of gratitude’ the nation owes the Windrush generation

Sharing the video to their Twitter account, Clarence House tweeted: ‘The diversity of our society is its greatest strength and gives us so much to celebrate.’ To mark #WindrushDay2020, The Prince of Wales has sent a message of thanks to Britain’s Caribbean community for their contribution to life in the UK.’

Putting on a smart appearance in a navy suit and blue shirt, Charles said: ‘Today offers an opportunity to express the debt of gratitude we owe to that first Windrush generation for accepting the invitation to come to Britain and, above all, to recognize the immeasurable difference that they, their children and their grandchildren, have made to so many aspects of our public life, to our culture and to every sector of our economy.’

Charles went on to describe Britain’s diversity as its ‘greatest strength’.

Speaking from his home office in a video message marking Windrush Day, Charles paid tribute to the ‘invaluable contribution of black people in Britain’

He said: ‘Today, as we honor the legacy of the Windrush generation and the invaluable contribution of black people in Britain, I dearly hope that we can continue to listen to each other’s stories and to learn from one another,’ he said.

‘The diversity of our society is its greatest strength and gives us so much to celebrate.’

He added: ‘We can only understand who we are as a Nation, where we have come from, and what future path we should take, if we are able to look at the past, present and future from each other’s perspectives.’

Charles said: ‘Now I hesitate to single out any area of this activity but, as coronavirus lockdown begins to ease, I did just want to say a particular word about our National Health Service, of which people of African and Caribbean descent have been an indispensable part since its very beginning.

‘At the same time, I know that the black community has been hit particularly hard by this pernicious virus.

Charles and Camilla seen welcoming French President Emmanuel Macron, left, to Clarence House in London on Thursday in their first post-pandemic engagement

‘To those who have lost their loved ones in such heartbreaking circumstances, when it has been impossible for them to comfort their relatives in hospital, I can only convey my most profound sympathy; and to everyone on the front line who has been put under such intense pressure over the last three months and risen heroically to the unprecedented challenge, I want to say on behalf of all of us how inordinately proud we are of them and the way they carry out their onerous duties.’

Charles also quoted the work of the Jamaican poet James Berry, who sailed to the UK in 1949 inspired by the Windrush pioneers, highlighting that he ‘never avoided the difficult issues of injustice’.

The royal recited lines from his poem Benedict, which read: ‘Thanks to the ear, that someone may hear. Thanks to seeing, that someone may see. Thanks to feeling, that someone may feel. Thanks to touch that one may be touched’.

The Empire Windrush was most famous for trips from the West Indies which brought people to work in the UK in 1948

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