Prince of Wales edits 40th anniversary edition of Britain’s Black newspaper ‘The Voice’

The Prince of Wales has edited The Voice, marking the 40th anniversary of the Black newspaper.

For the special anniversary issue of The Voice, a London-based Black newspaper, the Royal wrote about his experiences supporting Black British individuals.

The Prince of Wales met performers for the Notting Hill Carnival earlier this year. (Clarence House)

The Prince of Wales opens his letter by quoting Bob Marley, ‘the people have a voice inside of them’, where he describes The Voice newspaper as ‘a voice of advocacy, of protest, of reason, but most of all, of understanding’.

Charles notes how ‘Britain’s only surviving Black newspaper has become an institution and a crucial part of the fabric of our society’ and is ‘touched to edit this special edition’.

‘I have always found Britain’s Black communities to be a great source of inspiration, not to mention their support of my efforts through The Prince’s Trust. You have welcomed me into your communities with wonderful enthusiasm and I am grateful that you have always been candid with me about the issues you continually face and how I might help.’

His Royal Highness takes readers back to the 1980s, where he discusses how the ‘challenges and tragedies of those days are a vivid and painful memory, and a constant reminder to ensure the problems felt so acutely then must never be allowed to surface again, and that the initiatives formed at that time to tackle those issues must be continually updated and improved’.

He highlights one of these initiatives set up by his charity, The Prince’s Trust, ‘launched the Enterprise Programme to give marginalised young people, many of them from Black communities, financial grants to set up their own enterprises and to fulfil their extraordinary potential’.

The future King is ‘keenly aware of the way in which The Voice has been a key advocate for social justice’ and uses the ‘tragic’ case of Stephen Lawrence to highlight how the newspaper has been used as an advocacy tool.

The Prince’s Trust has founded ‘an inspiring and appropriate way to memorialise Stephen’s ambition to become an architect by making applied arts training more accessible for those affected by disadvantage’.

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Working with the Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation, Charles’ charity will award scholarships to young people from diverse backgrounds affected by social and economic inequality to join its one-year Diploma Year programme at Trinity Buoy Wharf.

The Prince of Wales goes on to talk about how the ‘pandemic reminded us all of the values we share as a society’ and how many individuals from Black communities have been a central part of the NHS, since its beginning.

‘Public services such as the NHS, where the workforce is particularly diverse, bore the brunt of the pandemic. For that reason we, as a nation, owe a particular debt of gratitude to those communities for the sacrifices they made for the sake of others,’ he writes.

‘Knowing that black communities have been hit especially hard by this pernicious virus, I can only offer my most profound sympathy to all those who so tragically lost their loved ones in such heartbreaking circumstances, together with my most heartfelt gratitude to everyone on the frontline who rose so heroically to the challenge.’

HRH notes how ‘the achievements of Britain’s Black communities are too many to record’, but hopes this special edition of The Voice will service as a celebration to some of the contribution from the communities.  He hopes the future of the magazine will be able to ‘look forward to the challenges and opportunities ahead, and the future that our communities will inspire and build’.

‘In all of this, we can reflect that our society is woven from diverse threads, drawn from so many parts of the world, which strengthen and enrich the fabric of our national life, as well as the remarkable tapestry of the Commonwealth’.

Concluding his letter, the Prince hopes society can ‘consistently preserve and celebrate the histories of people of African, Caribbean and Asian heritage in Britain, and to expand this beyond Black History Month’ to help showcase the rich diversity of culture and ethnic minority groups.

Charles hopes these troubling times ‘serve to remind us of the important values of unity through diversity on which we pride ourselves as a society and which lie at the very heart of what we can achieve as a nation’.

In this special edition, actor Idris Elba speaks of the support he had from the Prince’s Trust, while author Bernadine Evaristo discusses her hope for Black writers, as well as her feature in The Duchess of Cornwall’s Reading Room list.

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