<p>The Duke of Cambridge speaks at a reception hosted by the Governor General of the Bahamas Sir Cornelius Alvin Smith in the Bahamas</p>

The Duke of Cambridge speaks at a reception hosted by the Governor General of the Bahamas Sir Cornelius Alvin Smith in the Bahamas

Monarchy will respect any decision to become a republic, Prince William suggests

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s tour of the Caribbean was marked by protests

Kate Ng
Saturday 26 March 2022 11:11

The Duke of Cambridge has suggested that if Jamaica, Belize and the Bahamas were to decide to become republics, they would be supported with “pride and respect”.

Prince William made a speech on the penultimate night of his and Kate Middleton’s visit to the Bahamas to assure that “friendship endures” no matter what the future holds for the Caribbean countries.

It comes after the Duke and Duchess’ tour of the three countries in honour of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee was marked by demonstrations.

William’s comments are expected to reverberate around the region, where five other countries also have the Queen as head of state.

Speaking during a reception, the Duke said: “Next year, I know you are all looking forward to celebrating fifty years of independence – your Golden Anniversary.

“And with Jamaica celebrating 60 years of independence this year, and Belize celebrating 40 years of independence last year, I want to say this:

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the reception hosted by the Governor General of the Bahamas (Jane Barlow/PA)

“We support with pride and respect your decisions about your future.

“Relationships evolve. Friendship endures.”

Last November, Barbados took the historic move of replacing the Queen as head of state and elected its first president during a ceremony witnessed by the Prince of Wales.

Earlier this week, The Independent learned that the Jamaican government “has already begun” the process with the aim of seeing the nation transition to republic status.

Jamaica’s prime minister Andrew Holness suggested to the couple during their visit there that his country may be the next to become a republic.

He told the Cambridges, when he welcomed them to Kingston on Wednesday, Jamaica was “moving on” and intended to “fulfil our true ambitions and destiny as an independent, developed, prosperous country”.

A few days after the royals left Belize, prime minister Johnny Briceno’s government indicated the People’s Constitutional Commission, a new body, will be consulting across the country on the issue of the continuing decolonisation process.

Henry Charles Usher, minister for constitutional and political reform, reportedly told Belize’s parliament on Thursday: “Madame Speaker, the decolonisation process is enveloping the Caribbean region.

“Perhaps it is time for Belize to take the next step in truly owning our independence. But it is a matter that the people of Belize must decide on.”

The Duke and Duchess faced protests in each country they visited throughout their eight-day tour. In Belize, residents of a village the royal couple were set to visit staged a protest, resulting in a last-minute change in the Cambridges’ schedule.

When they arrived in Jamaica a few days later, at least 350 campaigners gathered outside the British High Commission in the capital, demanding reparations and apologies from the crown for slavery.

Later, the Bahamas’ national reparations committee issued a document calling on the Duke and Duchess to acknowledge the British economy was “built on the backs” of past Bahamians and to pay reparations.

Additional reporting by PA

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