King Charles and Queen Camilla concluded their four-day state visit to Kenya with a tour of historically significant sites in Mombasa. This visit, which focused on economic development, climate change, and security cooperation, marked Charles’ first trip to a former British colony since ascending to the throne.
During their visit, the royal couple met with leaders from various religious faiths, including Muslim, Christian, Hindu, and African traditional faith leaders. They also toured Fort Jesus, an ancient fort constructed by the Portuguese in the 16th century. Unfortunately, heavy rain prevented the couple from using an electric tuk-tuk to travel between locations.
Charles expressed his “deepest regret” for the violence endured by Kenyans during the country’s struggle for independence but did not issue the apology that many victims and their descendants had sought. The Mau Mau revolt from 1952 to 1960 led to the death, torture, and detention of tens of thousands of Kenyans by British forces. Additionally, the colonial regime had seized vast tracts of fertile land across Kenya over nearly seven decades.
In contrast, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier recently apologized to Tanzanian victims of Germany’s colonial rule during his visit to Tanzania, expressing remorse for the brutal suppression of the 1905-1907 Maji Maji rebellion, in which as many as 300,000 people died.
Many people in Kenya were disappointed by the absence of an apology from King Charles, with some believing that the UK should acknowledge its past wrongdoings and express regret as Germany did.
In 2013, the UK government agreed to a £20 million ($24 million) out-of-court settlement with over 5,200 survivors of abuses during the Mau Mau revolt but refused to issue an official apology, and similar claims by other communities have been rebuffed. The British High Commissioner to Kenya has argued that a royal apology could lead to “difficult legal territory.”