Prince William Reflects on His Controversial Caribbean Tour: ‘We’ve Learned So Much’


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Prince William reflects on his controversial Royal Caribbean tour earlier this year.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended the unveiling of the National Windrush Monument at Waterloo Station on Wednesday, where the Prince reached out to the UK’s Caribbean community in a groundbreaking speech.

Windrush Day was named for the Empire Windrush, a ship that brought hundreds of Caribbean immigrants to the UK in June 1948 to help fill a labor shortage after World War II , reported People magazine. According to the outlet, thousands of people, called “The Windrush Generation”, moved to the UK to help cities and industries rebuild after the war until the early 1970s. In 2018, Windrush Day has been officially marked as a celebratory day by the government.

The outlet noted that the inaugural celebration took place amid the Windrush scandal, which has seen hundreds of Caribbean immigrants living and working in the UK wrongfully targeted by immigration law enforcement. . The monument was created to symbolize the courage and resilience of the Anglo-Caribbean people.

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Prince William speaks during the unveiling of the National Windrush Monument at Waterloo Station in London on June 22, 2022.
(John Sibley/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

The couple’s appearance came months after they embarked on a Caribbean tour in March. They not only faced backlash for their visit, but they also encountered growing tensions in countries where William’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, remains head of state.

During his speech at the unveiling, William described how diversity is “so important to our country”.

“My family has been proud to celebrate this for decades – whether through my father’s support on Windy Day or more recently during my grandmother’s Platinum Jubilee, when people from all communities and all horizons have come together to recognize all that has changed over the past 70 years and look to the future,” said the 40-year-old

“It was something that resonated with Catherine and me after our visit to the Caribbean earlier this year,” he continued. “Our trip was a time to reflect and we learned a lot. Not only about the various issues that matter most to people in the region, but also about how the past weighs heavily on the present.”

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Prince William, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Baroness Floella Benjamin, right, and Windrush passengers Alford Gardner, center, and John Richards, fourth from left, and children at the National Windrush Monument created by the Jamaican artist Basil Watson, left, at Waterloo Station in London on June 22, 2022.

Prince William, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Baroness Floella Benjamin, right, and Windrush passengers Alford Gardner, center, and John Richards, fourth from left, and children at the National Windrush Monument created by the Jamaican artist Basil Watson, left, at Waterloo Station in London on June 22, 2022.
(John Sibley/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Previously, William spoke about the future governance of Caribbean nations after his tour.

“I know this tour has brought to light even more pointed questions about the past and the future,” the prince said at the time. “In Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas, it’s up to the people to decide the future. The overseas tours are a time to reflect. You learn so much. What concerns the prime ministers. The hopes and the ambitions of school children, daily challenges faced by families and communities… We really enjoyed spending time with the communities of the three countries, gaining a better understanding of the issues that matter most to them.”

“Catherine and I are determined to be of service,” William continued. “For us, it’s not about telling people what to do. It’s about serving and supporting them in the way they think is best, using the platform we’re blessed with. “That’s why tours like this reaffirm our desire to serve the people of the Commonwealth and to 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 the Commonwealth family has to create a better future for the people who make it up, and our commitment to serve and support as best we can.”

The royal tour has been criticized as “tone-deaf” for perpetuating images of British colonial rule. Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness has told the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge that his country intends to become a republic, removing the British monarch as head of state.

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Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge talk to attendees during a visit to the Elevate Initiative at Brixton House on June 22, 2022 in London.

Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge talk to attendees during a visit to the Elevate Initiative at Brixton House on June 22, 2022 in London.
(Eddie Mulholland – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The young members of the royal family have visited the three nations as representatives of the Queen, 96, who recently celebrated 70 years on the throne. During those seven decades, she served as Head of State for the United Kingdom and 14 “kingdoms” that were once colonies of the British Empire and are now independent countries.

The royal couple were greeted by protesters demanding an apology for Britain’s role in the enslavement of millions of Africans and reparations for the damage caused by slavery. During a speech in Jamaica, William expressed his “deep sadness” for slavery, but refrained from apologizing.

William acknowledged the changing nature of Britain’s ties with its former colonies during a speech on Friday evening in Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas.

“We proudly support and respect your decisions about your future,” William said. “Relationships evolve. Friendship endures.”

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People protest against the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's visit to Kingston, Jamaica on March 22, 2022.

People protest against the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s visit to Kingston, Jamaica on March 22, 2022.
(Ricardo Makyn/AFP via Getty Images)

Whatever the former colonies decide about their continued relationship with the crown, William said he wanted to continue to serve them through the Commonwealth, a voluntary association of 54 countries with historical ties to Britain. The Queen has been the head of the Commonwealth throughout her reign and Prince Charles, William’s father, is her designated successor.

The couple’s trip to Belize also suffered a setback when a planned visit to a cocoa farm in Belize was canceled due to local opposition.

According to local reports, a protest has been organized to oppose the royal visit to the Akte ‘il Ha cocoa farm in the village of Indian Creek at the foot of the Maya Mountains. Belizean newspaper Channel 7 reported that there was a dispute between village residents and Flora and Fauna International, a conservation charity that William supports as a patron.

A Kensington Palace spokesperson told Fox News Digital that “due to sensitive issues involving the Indian Creek community, the tour has been moved to another location.”

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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William visit Trench Town, the birthplace of reggae music, during their Caribbean tour on March 22, 2022, in Kingston, Jamaica.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William visit Trench Town, the birthplace of reggae music, during their Caribbean tour on March 22, 2022, in Kingston, Jamaica.
(Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage)

In November, Charles, 73, denounced “the atrocity of slavery” and the British legacy of the slave trade as Barbados returned his mother, the Queen, as head of state.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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