The Prince of Wales has spoken of the “debt of gratitude” Britain owes the Windrush generation.
In a video message marking Windrush Day, 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 recognise 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.”
The day marks 72 years since the Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Docks in Essex, bearing around 500 people from Jamaica.
He added: “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.”
He paid tribute to the doctors, nurses and others working on the front line.
He said: “At the same time, I know that the black community has been hit particularly hard by this pernicious virus.
“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 described Britain’s diversity as its “greatest strength”.
“Today, as we honour 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.”