Abbey remembers victims of slavery

Tuesday, 11th October 2016

Abbey remembers victims of slavery

Her Royal Highness Princess Eugenie of York attended a wreath laying to commemorate the work of William Wilberforce and mark the United Kingdom's commitment to combat modern slavery at Westminster Abbey on Wednesday 12th October 2016.

The service was attended by the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Theresa May MP, and the Home Secretary, the Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP.

During the service, Princess Eugenie laid a wreath at the grave of William Wilberforce, accompanied by Marlene Sookdeo, survivor of modern slavery.

In his Bidding, the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, said:

Almost nine years ago, we held a service here to mark the bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act. At the end of that service Her Majesty The Queen laid flowers, first at the statue of William Wilberforce to honour all who worked for the abolition of the slave trade, and later at the Innocent Victims Memorial outside the Abbey’s west front, to honour those who suffered and those who still suffer from slavery.
We mark a new stage in the fight against modern slavery as we recognise the first United Kingdom Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner. As Her Royal Highness lays a wreath at the grave of William Wilberforce, we shall honour all who have fought against slavery. And as we renew the commitment of Her Majesty’s Government and of the Churches to the effective abolition of slavery in our own day, we shall invoke the blessing of almighty God.

Addresses were given by the Most Reverend and Rt Hon Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of All England and Metropolitan; His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster; the Prime Minister; and Kevin Hyland OBE, Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner.

Al Bangura, professional footballer, survivor of modern slavery, and Sport for Freedom Ambassador, read Galatians 3: 23-29.

The prayers were led by the Reverend Paul Arbuthnot, Minor Canon and Sacrist of Westminster, and said by the Reverend Anthony Ball, Canon in Residence, and the Rt Hon The Lord Fowler, Lord Speaker.

The organ was played by Benjamin Cunningham, Organ Scholar.

Order of service (PDF, 155KB)

Address given by The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of All England and Metropolitan

Address given by The Right Honourable Theresa May MP, Prime Minister 

The Addresses