Prince William speaks on ‘opportunity to reflect’ after rocky Caribbean tour

“I know that this tour has brought into even sharper focus questions about the past and the future,” the prince said

Prince William has described overseas tours as “an opportunity to reflect” following a recent rocky voyage across the Caribbean which was dominated by protests against the crown.

Following the future king’s suggestion on Friday that the UK would support with “pride and respect” any decision by Jamaica, Belize or the Bahamas to break away from the British monarchy, he issued a statement explaining the tour had brought into “sharper focus questions about the past and the future”.

Ending their eight-day trip across the three Caribbean countries at the weekend, the prince acknowledged that the monarchy’s days in those nations may be numbered as he stated the future “is for the people to decide upon”.

By the trip’s conclusion, both Jamaica and Belize indicated desires to decouple with the crown.

“Foreign tours are an opportunity to reflect. You learn so much. What is on the minds of Prime Ministers. The hopes and ambitions of school children. The day-to-day challenges faced by families and communities,” the Duke of Cambridge wrote via a shared Twitter account with Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, on Sunday.

“I know that this tour has brought into even sharper focus questions about the past and the future. In Belize, Jamaica and The Bahamas, that future is for the people to decide upon.

“But we have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with communities in all three countries understanding more about the issues that matter most to them.”

He also emphasised that who the Commonwealth chooses to be its leader “isn’t what is on my mind”, but what concerned him was its potential to “create a better future for the people who form it”.

The duke added that he and his wife Kate were “committed to service” and saw their role as supporting people, “not telling them what to do”.

Prince William’s statement is thought to be a response to days of criticism the couple faced during their eight-day tour, from accusations over land rights from Belize residents who blasted the “colonial legacy of theft” to calls for slavery reparations in Jamaica and The Bahamas.

The duke is said to have had a meeting with aides following backlash from his and the Duchess of Cambridge’s Caribbean tour.

The couple play drums during a visit to the former home of musician Bob Marley in Kingston.

The couple were also accused described as being “tone deaf” after they were seen shaking hands with crowds behind a wire mesh fence in Kingston, and images of the pair riding in the back of a Land Rover were denounced as harking back to colonial days.

Moreover, outrage was drawn over the Cambridge’s participation in Nyabinghi drumming, a sacred ritual which is derived from an ancient African tradition of calling upon Black ancestors for protection, and celebration of reggae legend Bob Marley whose legacy is diametrically opposed to monarchial systems.

Media coverage of the tour has been split, with some choosing to focus on the positive reception that the royal couple had in parts of the Caribbean while others described the tour as a general “PR disaster” - from racially insensitive photograph framing and protests to the lack of tangible benefits of the visit to ordinary citizens who reside in these impoverished countries.

During the Jamaica leg of their tour, Prince William described slavery as “abhorrent” and said “it should never have happened” which was condemned as inadequate by Jamaican campaigners.

Speaking on Monday, Labour Party leader Keir Starmer said the duke didn’t go far enough in his remarks on slavery – and may do so in future.

William “could have gone further”, Sir Keir told LBC, adding “it’s a difficult one”. “I think that he may go further in the future.”

This came after the nation’s prime minister, Andrew Holness, told the duke and duchess on Wednesday that the country intends to become a republic - a move that is understood to have left Prince William feeling embarrassed.

The Independent revealed, prior to this, that Jamaica had already begun the process of removing the Queen as its head of state.

Barbados replaced the Queen as head of state in November, and elected its first president Sandra Mason during a ceremony witnessed by the Prince of Wales.

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