We must acknowledge past mistakes, Charles tells Commonwealth leaders.

The Prince of Wales told Commonwealth leaders that the potential of the family of nations for good cannot be realized until we all “admit the mistakes that have shaped our past”.

Harles described how he was on a personal journey of discovery and continued to “deepen his own understanding of the enduring impact of slavery” in a speech at the opening of the Commonwealth summit in Rwanda.

He acknowledged that the roots of the family of peoples “go deep into the most painful period of our history”, and the recognition of the mistakes of the past was “a conversation whose time has come.”

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The Prince of Wales shakes hands with Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) at the Kigali Convention Center (Chris Jackson/PA)

But there was no apology from the heir to the throne for the involvement of the royal family in the transportation and sale of people for profit.

Over the centuries, successive monarchs and other members of the royal family have been involved in trade, either supporting and facilitating the activity or making money from it.

Charles told the assembled prime ministers and presidents, including Boris Johnson, that he could not “describe the depths of my personal sadness at the suffering of so many people” during slavery.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson sits with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland and the Prince of Wales, and Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei (Dan Kitwood/Pennsylvania)

The Prince represents the Queen at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm), but his visit to the Rwandan capital Kigali was marred by scandal over alleged comments he made criticizing the government’s plan to send asylum seekers to the East African country.

Mr Johnson suggested that he tell Charles to keep an open mind about his asylum policy in Rwanda when the two men met later, but he declined those comments, saying he would not discuss conversations with the Queen or the heir to the throne.

The Prince told world leaders that the family of nations “is uniquely positioned to bring about such positive change in our world,” adding: “However, to realize this potential for good and unleash the power of our common future, we must also acknowledge the mistakes that have shaped our past.” .

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Prince of Wales, Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Chris Jackson/Pennsylvania)

“Many of these errors are from an earlier age with different—and in some ways lesser—values. By working together, we are building a new and lasting friendship.”

Charles, who will succeed the Queen as head of the Commonwealth, continued: “Because while we strive together for peace, prosperity and democracy, I want to recognize that the roots of our modern association run deep into the most painful period of our history.

“I cannot describe the depth of my personal sadness at the suffering of so many people as I continue to deepen my own understanding of the enduring impact of slavery.

“If we are to build a shared future that benefits all of our citizens, we too must find new ways to acknowledge our past. Simply put, this is a conversation whose time has come.”