Kate and Will: Commentator discusses visit to Jamaica
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Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge visited Belize, Jamaica and The Bahamas last month to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year, and their tour included several visits to local communities throughout the three Caribbean nations. But while much of the royal tour was considered a success, the Cambridges also found themselves the target of significant criticism and protests.
During their royal tour, William and Kate addressed several key issues such as environmentalism and the early years, and they met with countless people to speak to them first-hand about the issues that matter to them.
But William and Kate’s Caribbean tour was perceived by some to be tone-deaf and, in particular, criticism was levelled at pictures of the couple shaking people’s hands through wire fences.
The Cambridges’ use of a Land Rover in Jamaica while William saluted troops during a military parade was meant to mirror the Queen’s visit to Jamaica in the early years of her reign, but it was seen by some as echoing colonial times.
Although Kate and William’s tour appears to have been overshadowed by criticism, a royal expert highlighted how the couple were well-received during most of their trip.
Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams told Express.co.uk: “A royal tour is a truly unique way to project soft power. Because of the uniquely high profile of the British monarchy, there is also considerable interest in the host country, some before the tour and a considerable amount during it.
“We are so used to royal tours passing off seamlessly that anything different becomes a sensation, as the Cambridges discovered in their recent Caribbean tour.
“What actually happened was that the vast majority who saw them in all three countries much enjoyed it.
“The mix of royal activities was what has been customary on such visits and ranged from attending banquets to scuba diving.”
While in Jamaica, William emulated a speech given by his father in Barbados last year as it became a republic, with the future King labelling slavery an “appalling atrocity”.
He said: “I strongly agree with my father, the Prince of Wales, who said in Barbados last year that the appalling atrocity of slavery forever stains our history.
“I want to express my profound sorrow. Slavery was abhorrent, and it should never have happened.”
While William expressed his “profound sorrow” over slavery, many thought the future King did not go far enough and should have issued an apology. But according to Mr Fitzwilliams, William “dealt as best he could” with the issue.
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He explained: “Certain regrettable images, especially when used by those with obvious republican agendas, went worldwide, as the royal couple shaking the hands of children through the wire after the soccer match and William saluting the cadets in uniform did.
“Although there were bound to be demonstrators as the debate about a republic in Jamaica goes back half a century, Prime Minister Andrew Holness was openly brusque with his royal visitors.
“William dealt as best he could with the atrocious legacy of slavery, this will always be a dominant issue in certain countries.”
William will likely now be considering how royal tours should operate in the future, with the so-called ‘The Cambridge Way’ strategy reportedly being thrashed out by the future King and palace aides.
After his tour William responded to some of the issues that arose in a lengthy social media statement, acknowledging that it “brought into even sharper focus questions about the past and the future.”
In his statement, William expressed that independence is for the three nations to decide upon and that he would support their decision.
He added: “Catherine and I are committed to service.
“For us that’s not telling people what to do. It is about serving and supporting them in whatever way they think best, by using the platform we are lucky to have.”
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