Loose Women’s Charlene White was left tearful after learning her five times great-grandad was a slave owner who had illegitimate children at his plantation
Loose Women star Charlene White has discovered her five times great-grandad was a slave owner who had illegitimate children at his plantation.
As part of ITV’s programming for Black History Month, the newsreader, 41, uncovers the roots of her links to the British Empire.
Tracing her family tree in Jamaica, she learns about the shocking past of 18th century-born John Stanbury.
In the documentary, Charlene says: “He was a slave owner, he owned people who looked like me.
“And that is within my bloodline, which is a weird thing to get my head around and he is responsible for my families’ lighter skin.
“Is it a nice history? No, but I feel it is something I needed to know.”
Genealogist Dianne Golding-Frankson tells her several children on his property were mixed race.
The star had initially been looking to find out about her great-great-great grandfather William Stanbury.
She learns he had a brother and a father who were both called James.
Dianne says: “The placement of John Stanbury in St Catherine and residency of James Stanbury is a strong suggestion James Stanbury is the illegitimate child of John.”
Charlene, whose family were part of the Windrush generation who settled in the UK, adds: “You know the red in my hair when it’s not dyed? Gosh, it’s because of this man. This man could have been responsible for a lot of pain.
“And chose to put his children in a stock take of the slaves he owned.”
The mum of two also traces her other four-times great grandparents Andrew and Elsey Pusey, who were born into slavery in the 1790s.
But they were among the first Jamaicans freed in 1834 when slavery was abolished, before buying land to live on and sell produce.
Crying tears of joy, the London presenter says: “At my age they were freed and wanted more.
“To know I came from here and generations kept on wanting more for their children and they did it.
“The dream Andrew and Elsey had, they did it. I am so proud.”
She says the discoveries have given her a “sense of understanding of my place within the empire I simply didn’t have before”.
But adds: “I believe this isn’t just a story about me or my family.
“I think it’s a story about who we all are as British people in terms of our history with the Empire.
“And the societies and culture and people will forever be intertwined.”
*Charlene White: Empire’s Child is on ITV tomorrow at 9pm.