King Charles has been criticised after a video upload to the Royal Family’s Instagram and Twitter accounts resulted in a “digital mishap” for Buckingham Palace, according to a royal commentator. Daniela Elser claimed the video, featuring different choirs from various Commonwealth countries singing a cover of Steve Winwood’s Higher Love, brought to the surface memories of colonialism and slavery that the royals should make more effort to distance themselves from.
The clip, which was supposedly first screened during the Coronation Concert on May 7, saw some choirs wearing national dress while others looked less than impressed to be there.
The King shared a quote which was posted alongside the video: “I was immensely proud to see the contributions from across the Commonwealth … Each of your contributions was unique and incredibly special and I was most touched you took the time and the trouble to contribute.”
Ms Elser commented: “It is bad enough that some bright spark came up with this video for the concert, clearly as some way of including all those far flung bits of the world that constitute the Commonwealth, but why for the love of god put it on social media?
“The video is like some horrible throwback to the time of British Pathé, as if the producers, wearing their safari suits and pith helmets behind their desks in London, sent out a memo to the Commonwealth asking them to find as many people and children of colour as they could and then demand they perform for the cameras.
“For one thing, while some of the choirs look truly thrilled to be a part of this production, others look like they have been dragooned into this and their lack of enthusiasm is hard to miss.”
Choirs from across the Commonwealth, including Barbados, Zambia, Australia and Bangladesh among many others, all shared their contributions as part of the celebrations for the crowning of King Charles.
On Commonwealth Day in March this year the King acknowledged his late mother Queen Elizabeth’s pride and passion for the institution and emphasised his desire to continue this legacy.
The royals have commented on the horrors of slavery, as Charles said during a Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Rwanda last year: “I cannot describe the depths of my personal sorrow at the suffering of so many, as I continue to deepen my own understanding of slavery’s enduring impact.”
In Jamaica, Prince William also expressed his “profound sorrow”, adding that “slavery was abhorrent” and an “applying atrocity.”
More recently, King Charles backed a study into the Royal Family’s links with slavery.
Buckingham Palace said that it is cooperating with an independent study exploring the relationship between the British monarchy and the slave trade in the 17th and 18th centuries. They added that King Charles takes the issue “profoundly seriously”.
The King wants to continue his pledge to deepen his understanding of slavery’s impact with “vigour and determination” since his accession, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said.
However, Ms Elser claims that the Firm has still not done enough to tackle the “ghosts of empire and colonialism” that overshadow the family.
Last year the Prince and Princess of Wales were criticised for how their royal tour of the Caribbean played out, with images of them inspecting troops in Jamaica from the back of a Land Rover slammed for their colonialist undertones.
Ms Elser argued that the family have yet to take any affirmative action in dealing with this troubling legacy.
Buckingham Palace has been approached for comment.