In the new episode of The Newsweek Royal Report podcast, Omid Scobie tells chief royal correspondent Jack Royston and royal commentator Kristen Meinzer that in Prince William’s final speech from his recent Caribbean tour, he ‘admitted defeat’ over his future chances of leading the Commonwealth .
Scobie, co-author of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s biography find freedomtold Royston and Meinzer that the Commonwealth is “a close-knit family of countries that still has many reasons to exist, but I think with that royal connection it’s clear things are changing.”
He added: “People are asking for it and it’s time for the Royal Family to listen rather than fight it.”
Scobie’s comments were made in reference to a speech William gave on the final night of his Caribbean tour through Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas. There has been much discussion in these countries – which retain Queen Elizabeth II as head of state – about whether or not they should become a republic.
During his speech, William said: “With Jamaica celebrating 60 years of independence this year and Belize celebrating 40 years of independence last year, I want to say this: we proudly support and respect your decisions. about your future Relationships evolve Friendships last.
The comments were prompted by a series of criticisms leveled at the tours’ numerous public relations mistakes, the royal family’s failure to heed calls from locals to acknowledge the role the monarchy had played in the slave trade and to engage in reparations discussions. and independence movements.
On their first day in Jamaica, William and Kate were told in front of the press cameras by Prime Minister Andrew Holness that the island was “moving forward” and “intended to achieve, in a short period of time, our goals of development and to realize our true ambitions and destiny as an independent, developed and prosperous country.”
Scobie told Royston it was the most explicit example of a call for independence on a royal tour in recent years, but it wasn’t the first: “We’ve certainly seen in the past, over the years, politicians who have had the chance to spend time with traveling royals who can express or echo the feelings of a section of the public who feel they want a Republic.
“We’ve seen it on trips to Australia, it’s always been in the background of travels through the Caribbean and Commonwealth realms, but never so direct. Never faced with a future king himself.”
Moving on to the final leg of their Bahamas tour, and after the independence reference, William added a surprising section on the future of the Commonwealth to his final speech. He said: “Catherine and I are committed to serving. For us, it’s not about telling people what to do. It’s about serving and supporting them in whatever way they think is best, using the platform that we are fortunate to have.
“That’s why tours like this reaffirm our desire to serve the people of the Commonwealth and listen to communities around the world. Who the Commonwealth chooses to lead their families in the future is not what I think. .
“What matters to us is the potential of the Commonwealth family to create a better future for the people who make it up, and our commitment to serve and support as best we can.”
At The royal report podcast Royston expressed surprise at the statement as, “it hadn’t come up in public on the tour – the question of whether he’ll be in charge of the Commonwealth… It’s not a title hereditary, so it’s not a fatality it will be.”
To Scobie, however, the whole talk felt like “it was almost a little too late.” He continued: “It clearly wasn’t on his mind before he went there, otherwise they wouldn’t have called. [the tour] the “charm offensive”.
“It was he who raised his hand and accepted the current state of sentiment towards the Royal Family and their place in society across the Commonwealth realm is losing its purpose or value.”
“I think his end-of-tour statement was a historic moment in some ways because it forever reduced the scope of the reign of British monarchs. I think it was William who was admitting defeat.”
Currently, the Queen is Head of State in 15 countries, including 8 in the Caribbean. The statement in William’s speech regarding the future of the monarchy in the region, whether as head of state or head of the Commonwealth, could see his rule radically different from that of his grandmother.