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To mark Queen Elizabeth’s platinum jubilee, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate, have been dispatched on an eight-day tour of several Caribbean members of the Commonwealth.
Because of the pandemic, this is the first major Royal Tour in a couple of years. It also comes after increased calls to denounce the historic legacy of slavery and the widespread Black Lives Matters protests that erupted in the summer of 2020.
Related: Queen quits Buckingham Palace and many folk are thinking the same thing
As such, the optics of ultra-privileged members of the British royal family touring some of the UK’s former colonies were always going to be tricky.
True to form, William and Kate’s so-called charm offensive—hoping to persuade the countries concerned not to ditch the Queen as head of state in the wake of Barbados doing so last year—has thrown up plenty of cringe-worthy and awkward moments.
Let’s walk through some of them and some online reactions.
1. The Royal couple were forced to cancel their first engagement in Belize last Sunday on day one of the tour. Their helicopter had been scheduled to land on a soccer field in Indian Creek, an indigenous Maya village in southern Belize. Local villagers staged a protest to complain they hadn’t been consulted about it. The villagers are also in a land dispute with Fauna & Flora International, a conservation charity the Prince supports.
William and Kate cancel trip on Caribbean tour after protest from Belize villagers over ‘colonial legacy’ pic.twitter.com/rZbdrVTAeK
— Phantom Power (@PhantomPower14) March 20, 2022
William & Kate forced to cancel a major visit planned for start of their Caribbean tour to a village in Belize because local residents opposed them coming.
I hope people from other Caribbean islands will also tell the royal couple to bog off!#AbolishTheMonarchy
— Taffy (@TGFMichaelRosen) March 19, 2022
William & Kate dancing and eating chocolate in Belize couldn’t really feel more irrelevant to anything right now, in my view.
I know the ‘line’ is that the Commonwealth is Global Britain’s glorious trading & cultural future, but it’s ridiculous.
The whole context is wrong.
— Brendan May 🇺🇦 (@bmay) March 21, 2022
Same colonizers same car but an empty crowd that show the end of the British monarchy within the commonwealth m. Thanks god they leaving today and for good this time. pic.twitter.com/bxxyMwQc7s
— JustJuliette 💙💛 (@SussexDetectiv1) March 24, 2022
2. When the tour moved on to Jamaica, protestors gathered outside the British High Commission in Kingston, holding banners with the phrase “seh yuh sorry”, a patois phrase urging Britain to apologize for its colonial legacy.
3. William and Kate slap drums in Trench Town, Jamaica after visiting the former home of Bob Marley.
#RoyalVisitJamaica on Day5 of #RoyalTourCaribbean. Jamaica 🇯🇲 a beautiful country to spend my birthday too. Prince William is set to acknowledge the misery of slavery amid protests in Kingston yesterday in a speech later. pic.twitter.com/cxNEqaHZcJ
— Robert Jobson (@theroyaleditor) March 23, 2022
4. Kate and William brush fingers with Jamaican locals through a wire fence.
Who thought this was a good photo op?! pic.twitter.com/3yckzWgVXX
— Richard Emmins (@RichardEmmins) March 23, 2022
I do wonder what the hell palace organisers were thinking with some of yesterday’s photo moments. The planning and recon that goes into every step of these engagements is next level, so how did no one think to avoid certain imagery? This is why diversity on a team matters.
— Omid Scobie (@scobie) March 23, 2022
this royal PR disaster in the Caribbean is so funny to watch
— Louis Staples (@LouisStaples) March 23, 2022
5. The Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness, meets the couple, and in front of TV cameras, boldly tells them we no longer need you: “We are moving on. We intend to … fulfill our true ambitions and destiny as an independent, developed, prosperous country.”
Jamaica is due to have an independence referendum later this year, with those calling for independence wanting to ditch the Queen as head of state within two years if the public agrees.
“We are moving on.”
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness told Prince William that the British commonwealth intends to become fully independent in an unexpected announcement that comes as other countries consider cutting ties with the monarchy. https://t.co/V2DceahFfr pic.twitter.com/KFvHPqX5QX
— ABC News (@ABC) March 24, 2022
6. At an official dinner on Wednesday night in Jamaica, William expressed “profound sorrow” at “abhorrent” slavery and echoed comments made previously by his father, Prince Charles, by saying it “stains” British history.
However, he stopped short of saying “sorry” on behalf of the Royal Family’s role in the slave trade or addressing calls for reparations.
I’m not saying William & Kate are unpopular, but every country they visit seems to decide that it’s time to bin the Queen and become a republic.
The Queen must be terrified about them coming home.
— Alfie Potts Harmer (@ahtralfie) March 24, 2022
7. Before the couple’s arrival yesterday in the Bahamas, the country’s national reparations committee issues a strongly worded statement, saying, “We are not beholden to the British monarchy in any way and we do not owe them a debt of gratitude for anything – not for our culture, religion, or system of governance.
“Instead the monarchy has looted and pillaged our land and our people for centuries, leaving us struggling with underdevelopment, left to pick up the pieces.”
I know the people in Barbados are happy they cut all ties to the British Monarchy.
Now Jamaicans are in the beginning stages of starting their own process for independence too.
Prince William & Kate Middleton’s “charm” tour to Belize, Jamaica & Bahamas this wk has been a DISASTER pic.twitter.com/Z5AyPHpEkV
— Katrina 🕊️🌸🛡️ (@dazzlegal) March 23, 2022
Related: Never-before-seen photo of Princess Diana goes on display
It should be noted that in many places, the royal couple have been welcomed by cheering crowds. Also, much of what they’ve done on tour would have been at the invitation of the host countries. And if we were being extremely generous, the whole tour has highlighted the monarchy’s involvement with the slave trade and the legacy of colonialism, which is never a bad thing.
However, for some in Britain’s more right-leaning media, there’s only one possible person to blame for the tour not going well: Meghan Markle!
Incredulously, gay journalist and broadcaster Dan Wooton, writing in the Daily Mail this week, claimed, “Harry and Meghan have become the pin-ups for [the Commonwealth’s] destruction,” fueling campaigns for the countries to ditch the Royal Family.
Shame on Meghan Markle as her propagandists use the fantasy that the Royal Family is racist to derail Wills and Kate’s Jamaican tour and destroy the Commonwealth.
My new column for @MailOnline https://t.co/JowAVBjliG
— Dan Wootton (@danwootton) March 23, 2022
The claim led to eye rolls across social media.
Only Dan Wootton could make Will and Kate’s failed Jamaican tour and the Royal Family’s racist, colonial and oppressive past (the fabric of which they stand on) all Meghan Markle’s fault. 🤷 pic.twitter.com/6iy8AgMGVM
— Darren (@MxDarren_) March 24, 2022
William and Kate’s Caribbean tour is set to conclude tomorrow and they are expected to return to the UK for Prince Philip’s memorial service in London next week.
The author, David Hudson, and twitterites need to understand how time works. There is no way that this couple can go back in time to prevent the UK from bringing these countries INTO the commonwealth.
People who get upset about historic events can only LEARN from them and not repeat them. The USA used nuclear weapons to shorten WWII. It can’t be undone. Are we going to un-bury President Truman and demand an apology?
I’m tired of the wokesplaining. David Hudson and crew need to report both history and the things that can be done. Otherwise, it’s just whining and cheap shots.
All of the right wing troll account screenames consistently defend the royal family and it’s historic legacy of racism and colonialism, then attack Meghan Markle for daring to not want to be just like them.
Cam, people have noticed that this, lying about people, is your M. O. It would be best for you to stop the personal attacks and actually try to communicate as an adult.
A hastily put together trip to try to get some good P.R .after Prince Andrew settling the case of the rape of an underaged girl.
Kill the hatred with kindness and compassion. Your hate and anger only bolsters their hate.
Cam, you’ve lied over 48 times now about everyone else being the same right-wing troll. You are feeding their hate by repeating an obvious lie. You are intentionally showing them that LGBT people are noting more than liars. Please stop. You are only escalating the hate and giving them ammunition..
They come here for a reason – maybe hate; But, they are here and on the path with us. If we show them the same compassion that we’d appreciate, maybe we can get thru to them. We aren’t all hateful liars – please don’t give ANYONE that impression. Please stop.
Ronbo = Russian troll farm worker; trying to work the crowd first one way then another — it’s a kind of manipulative pollution of the comments section.
Ronbo is a Russian operative.
Russia will be a pariah nation long after Putin is gone. For shame!
So let’s see, you claim you AREN’T a right wing troll, yet apparently keep a tally of of the times I point out the OTHER screenames, who supposedly aren’t you.
LOL!!!! I mean, I know you’re terrible at trolling, but even a BAD troll wouldn’t expose themselves so blatantly. LOL!!! Thank you for making my day!
Your trolling is beyond sad and weak….now you’re just a joke.
Cam and Fahid – Your hate, and that of tRump and Putin, is NOT A FAMILY VALUE. Please stop the hate and lying.
It starting to look as if you are here to troll FOR hate and violence. The lying shows that you DON’T understand the value of compassion and includion in building a better community.
My sympathies for the people who actually think that those who aren’t as hateful and divisive as them must be Russian. This isn’t the first grade.
It is about time that the people of these former colonies, built on the labor of their slave ancestors, woke up to the English legacy of centuries of exploitation.
By the way, to me, Brexit epitomizes the English mentality. The British Empire exploits hundreds of millions around the world for centuries, but the minute the British think there might be one too many Polish worker entering their country – shifting the balance, they really can’t tolerate being used and they exit the union. Now, they have the pot-bellied, loudmouth mop head PM screeching threats from behind the U.S.’s coattails; laughable.
It’s refreshing to see people go for reparations instead of handouts.
Keep in mind that only 51.9% voted for Brexit. And it was a hazy, undefined idea back then. If they’d held a second referendum, Brexit would have lost in a landslide.
Why keep that in mind?; it’s a misleading statistic. The English outside of Great er London voted overwhelmingly in favor of Brexit, it was only because Brexit lost by relatively large margins in Northern Ireland and Scotland that the figure came down to 52% in favor.
Why won’t Johnson permit a Scottish independence referendum, even we are going to repeat referenda?
The U.K. is relatively quickly evolving into Little England. I hope Charles and William can handle the responsibility and afford the reparations.
Because your first comment sounds like All Brits Wanted Brexit.
Heywood, Fahid vents his anger without thinking. He’d rather hate an entire nation than look in the mirror or do actual research. He/She is broken in some way and this is his/her red flag calling for help.
Hilarious. You know nothing about Britain but you’re attempting to psychoanalye an entire nation? BTW there’s no such thing as the British empire, it was dissolved 70 years ago. Do you actually think any of us will give a f*** if Jamaica becomes a republic? Good luck to them.
Every Jamaican prime minister since 1972 has been in favor of getting rid of the monarchy. But somehow it never happens. Meanwhile they blame all their homophobia on those darn leftover British laws (which Britain itself has somehow managed to change at home).
I hope Jamaica does get rid of the monarchy, then hopefully it will occur to Jamaicans that they really DO have the power to change their homophobic laws and attitudes.
Regrettably, the conservative, church-going folks of Jamaica and other UK territories and commonwealth members don’t want to change their homophobic laws. Even in otherwise progressive Bermuda same-sex marriage was approved by the Supreme Court then reversed by the elected parliament with full public approval. Court challenges at the highest level of the UK’s legal system sustained the ban on marriage. A similar story unfolded in the Cayman Islands. In countries freed from UK rule or oversight, such as Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania the situation of LGBTQ folks is even worse. Nope, independence isn’t the answer to making people more tolerant.
You are all trolls. Do not see the obvious, ready to throw mud at each other
The Mountbatten’s are sooooo clueless.
Their days are over yet they persist.
Ew Cringe is correct
The entire concept of the “Commonwealth” is absurd and anachronistic. The UK economically benefitted immeasurably from its colonies and territories mostly through the forced labor of slaves or indentured servants carted from one part of the planet to another at the pleasure of His/Her Majesty’s Government. Britain wanted so desperately to go it alone in the world that they pulled out of the EU; Jamaica, Belize and the Bahamas can’t possibly be worth more to the UK then the various benefits of EU membership.
It’s time the sun should finally set once and for all on the remnants of the British Empire.
Something to consider. The US broke away from Britain in 1776, and became a fully independent Republican beginning in 1789. It took us until 2005 to fully eliminate laws against same-sexual activity, in Lawrence v. Texas, but such laws still remain on the books on certain US state, like Alabama.
Most of the Caribbean and African countries did not end their colonial status and become independent from Britain until the 1960s, over 200 years after the US. Moreover, some are still part of the Commonwealth or have Britain’s monarch as their titular head. Colonialism is still very strong. So keep that in mind when you state that these countries should just drop all of this hateful anti-gay/anti-LGBTQ colonial legislation and mindset that they got from the UK.
That tradition and its power, coupled with the negative effects of Christianity, dies hard.