King Charles has paid tribute to the 75th anniversary of HMT Empire Windrush arriving in Britain.
Last year, while Prince of Wales, he commissioned a series of 10 portraits that will be part of the Royal Collection and act as a tribute to the contributions of the Windrush generation — he also attended a service at St. George's Chapel, Windsor in recognition of the anniversary on 22 June.
The Windrush generation were Commonwealth citizens who arrived from the Caribbean between 1948 and 1973 to help fill job shortages and rebuild a postwar Britain.
Ten pioneering members of the Windrush generation were chosen to sit for the portraits, by a committee which included Baroness Floella Benjamin, but the artists who painted them were selected personally Charles.
However one royal commentator has noted that, although the portraits are "absolutely beautiful", and that they demonstrate Charles is trying to be a unifying figure for the country, whether his attempts will work remains to be seen.
"The monarchy still remain so hugely divisive," Afua Acheampong-Hagan, a broadcaster and royal commentator, told Yahoo News. "In the things that they've done, in the way that they've treated certain members of the family... so if you're gonna go to unity, go for unity properly.
"He's trying to be that unifying figure, he's trying to bring people together. I think that applies to both King Charles and Prince William, whether there'll be successful on it, I don't know."
Acheampong-Hagan also cast doubt on whether the "stunning" series of portraits are enough to undo the damage done by the Windrush Scandal.
The Windrush scandal saw over 160 people wrongly deported or detained, because the Home Office had not kept records of which Commonwealth citizens who arrived in the UK before 1973 had permission to stay in the country, or issued the proper paperwork to them.
"I think it's a good thing that they have been done," Acheampong-Hagan said of the portraits, "[and that] contribution that the Windrush generation have made to the UK has been acknowledged in this way.
"Obviously, there's still so many issues about the Windrush inquiry; around compensation that people are still owed; about people who are still displaced - like people with mental health problems that were just shipped back after coming to this country to rebuild it after war.
"After being colonised and enslaved people being taken from those countries as well. I mean, portraits aren't going to undo any of the horrible thing that have been done, but I think it's a good step forward."
In 2010, the Home Office destroyed thousands of landing cards of the Windrush generation, which made it impossible for the department to confirm arrival dates for individuals who requested them.
The hostile environment on immigration spearheaded by then-home secretary Theresa May meant that many people who had lived the country for decades lost the legal right to live and work in the UK — which was assured to them by the Immigration Act of 1971 — and found themselves unable to access NHS healthcare or work, and even being deported.
In 2018, as prime minister, Theresa May apologised for the scandal. An inquiry was set up and a compensation scheme was initiated in 2019, but two years later a Home Affairs Select Committee released a damning report that said only 5% of those eligible received compensation and "compounded injustices" faced by the Windrush generation.
This year, Suella Braverman announced that some of the recommendations made by the Windrush inquiry report were being dropped by the Home Office.
Acheampong-Hagan noted that the Royal Family are obliged to remain politically neutral, so there is a limit to the tangible actions they can take to right these wrongs, but pointed out that this issue is also one of humanity, not just politics.
"[The monarchy] is symbolic right? Prince William can talk about the contribution that the Windrush generation has made to the United Kingdom, and you can have these portraits commissioned to depict these incredible people, but what's being done about those people who had their citizenship taken away wrongly?
"Or who were shipped back when they had mental health issues after rebuilding this country. Where's the apology for slavery? There's still things that have to be done.
"There's no point in doing things that are just symbolic.
"Yes, we understand that the Royal Family has to remain apolitical. But I think there's some issues which go above politics and actually are more just about humanity. And maybe that's where the Royal Family can step in.
"And maybe that's where they should be saying: 'Actually, we want to do something more about this. We should be apologising for slavery, we should be doing more to make sure that people who came on HMT Windrush to rebuild this country ravaged by war, are properly treated and properly compensated for doing that.'"
How has King Charles honoured the Windrush generation?
As well as commissioning the portraits to honour the Windrush generation, the King has long been a vocal supporter of the UK's Caribbean community.
In 1998, when celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Windrush arrival, Charles said: "I attach huge importance to the distinctive contribution which you, your families and the wider black community make to British life”.
In 2020, on Windrush Day, he sent a video message of thanks to the UK's Caribbean community, two years after the Windrush scandal had come to light.
Watch: Yahoo UK's 'Future of the Monarchy' panel - hosted by Omid Scobie