The College’s long past is not uncomplicated and, like many British historic institutions, is tied to the abhorrent transatlantic slave trade. Two benefactors, Sir Joseph Williamson and Lady Elizabeth Hastings, both benefitted financially from investments in the Royal African Company (RAC), the largest company trading in enslaved peoples in the history of the Atlantic slave trade. Williamson also held offices in the Company and therefore also contributed directly to the operation of the RAC.

The College recognises that there’s a range of views on how to assess and absorb the past into our understanding of what Queen’s is today. History contributes profoundly to lived and lasting experiences of the world and we seek to apply the same critical, rigorous and thoughtful approach to its study that we encourage in the academic work of our members. As part of our own conversations on racial equality and combatting racism, we continue to look to the past to examine and understand its legacy, and we look to the future to be part of building a better world