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Royalty in the Caribbean

Posted by Caribbean World Magazine on 26 November 2021 | 0 Comments

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26 November 2021
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Price William and Kate - the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge - were the first to arrive in the Caribbean on 20th March. The couple's eight-day tour of Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas was their first overseas jaunt since the outbreak of the global pandemic. The Royals represented William's grandmother Queen Elizabeth II to mark the monarch's Platinum Jubilee year, which celebrates her 70 years on the throne. Throughout the trip, Kate and William updated their Instagram account with regular posts and pictures - Announcing ‘Arriving in Belize, the first stop of our Caribbean tour! in a captioned personal photo as the couple touched down at Philip S. W Goldson International Airport on March 19th. After a quick change of clothes on the plane, Prince William and Kate were ready to walk down the steps to an awaiting red carpet and an eager welcoming crowd.

Just a few weeks later, on 22nd April 2022, it was the turn of Prince Edward and Sophie - The Earl and Countess of Wessex - to step ashore on Caribbean soil on a 1-week Platinum Jubilee tour of Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, and Antigua & Barbuda. 

Flag-waving crowds, beaming smiles and Union bunting ensured our Royals received a warm welcome to the Caribbean - but there were anti-Colonial protests too.

Extraordinary attention to detail could be seen on both tours, particularly in the outfits chosen for each country in colours that paired beautifully with the hues of each national flag. On both tours, the Royals seemed relaxed and were clearly enjoying the sunshine and the opportunity to interact with parrots, cocoa farmers, school children, Duke of Edinburgh award recipients and local marine conservationists. Visits including a National Trust property, a local close-knit Anglican Church, incredible Mayan ruins and a Garifuna community. Prince William particularly enjoyed spending time with BATSUB (British Army Training Support Unit) in the jungle, which gives tropical environment training to British troops and international partners. William, spent a period of time with the unit under the guidance of the Welsh Guards in 2000, as part of his gap year between Eton College and St. Andrew's University.

Both tours took place at a time when Jamaica is taking steps to remove the Queen as head of state. There were calls for reparations during the visits and plenty of local political criticism. Plans for The Cambridge’s’ to visit a Mayan Mountain village were cancelled due to anti-monarchy protests while the Palace announced that a tour stop in Granada would not take place, ahead of the Wessex’s' trip. What is certain is that Royal Tours are far from straightforward in 2022 and serve to highlight how much has change in the world since the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh toured the nations of the Commonwealth. Certainly, with HM Queen Elizabeth II watching the TV coverage intently from her Windsor home, questions may be asked about the relevance of royalty travelling thousands of miles overseas to tour former colonies.

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