Belgium’s King Philippe has expressed his “regrets” for “acts of violence” and “suffering” of the Congolese people during the colonial period.
He made the remarks in a letter to Democratic Republic of Congo’s President Félix Tshisekedi on the country’s 60th anniversary of independence from Belgium.
Belgium’s King Leopold II seized a huge swathe in what is now DR Congo in the 1880s where as many as 10 million Africans were said to have been killed under his rule.
In his letter, King Philippe expressed remorse for “suffering” inflicted to the Congolese people, according to Belgian media reports.
“I would like to express my deepest regrets for these wounds of the past, the pain of which is now revived by the discrimination still too present in our societies,” his letter is quoted as saying.
He is the first Belgian monarch to formally express remorse for atrocities committed in the colonial era.
Three weeks ago a statue of Leopold II in the city of Antwerp was set on fire by anti-racism protesters.