“Only a matter of years ago, tens of thousands of that generation were profoundly wronged by the Windrush scandal,” the future king of England said.
After paying tribute to Windrush generation’s “enormous contribution” to British life, the Duke of Cambridge said his recent tour of the Caribbean presented an “opportunity to reflect”.
“Our trip was an opportunity to reflect and we learned so much – not just about the different issues that matter most to the people of the region, but also about how the past weighs heavily on the present,” the future king, who attended the unveiling on Wednesday with Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, said.
“Sadly that is also the case for members of the Windrush Generation who were victims of racism when they arrived here. And discriminations remains an all too familiar experience for Black men and women in Britain in 2022.
“Only a matter of years ago, tens of thousands of that generation were profoundly wronged by the Windrush scandal that rightly reverberates throughout the Caribbean community here in the UK and as well as in many of the Caribbean nations.
“Therefore alongside celebrating the diverse fabric of our families, communities and our society as a whole – something the Windrush generation has contributed so much to – it is also important to acknowledge the ways in which the future they sought and deserved has yet to come to pass.”
The Queen has also paid tribute to the “profound contribution” of the Windrush “pioneers”, describing the new national monument at Waterloo Station as “fitting thank you”.
In a written message on Windrush Day, the monarch said she hoped the statue – of a man, woman and child in their Sunday best standing on top of suitcases – would inspire present and future generations.
The Queen’s message read: “It gives me pleasure to extend my congratulations on the creation of the National Windrush Monument.
“The unveiling at Waterloo Station on Windrush Day serves as a fitting thank you to the Windrush pioneers and their descendants, in recognition of the profound contribution they have made to the United Kingdom over the decades.
“It is my hope that the memorial will serve to inspire present and future generations, and I send you my warmest good wishes on this historic occasion.”
The message was signed Elizabeth R. Next year marks 75 years since the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush at Tilbury docks in 1948, bringing 500 passengers from the Caribbean.