King Charles wants to understand colonial history throughout his reign.
The 73-year-old monarch, who ascended the throne upon the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth in September, made a speech in front of South African president Cyril Ramaphosa at his first state banquet since becoming head of state on Tuesday.
He promised to “acknowledge the wrongs” that have made up the history of Britain.
He said: “While there are elements of that history which provoke profound sorrow, it is essential that we seek to understand them.
“As I said to Commonwealth leaders earlier this year, we must acknowledge the wrongs which have shaped our past if we are to unlock the power of our common future.
“The late queen had the great pleasure of hosting presidents Mandela, Mbeki and Zuma for State Visits to the United Kingdom, at all of which I was present. On each of those occasions, she expressed her admiration for your country and its people, its vibrancy, natural beauty and diversity.”
The monarch went on to add that his mother had “always talked warmly” about South Africa following her visit to meet the then-president Nelson Mandela and recalled that he had even bestowed the queen with a special name.
“And she always talked warmly of her return to your country in 1995, as the guest of president Mandela, after the momentous events – driven from within South Africa and supported by so many around the world, including here in the United Kingdom – that brought democracy to your country.
“During one of my own visits to South Africa, in 1997, president Mandela told me that he had conferred on my mother a special name – Motlalepula, meaning ‘to come with rain’.
“I have been reassured that this was a mark of the particular affection President Mandela felt for the queen… rather than a remark on the British habit of taking our weather with us!”
King Charles was joined at the Buckingham Palace banquet by his wife Queen Consort Camilla, his son Prince William and his wife Catherine, Princess of Wales, as well as the Earl and Countess of Wessex.