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Prince William has told how he and the rest of the royal family “respect your decisions about your future” as Caribbean nations look set to ditch the Queen and become republics.
In a last minute addition to a speech on the penultimate day of his tour with wife Kate of Belize, Jamaica and The Bahamas, the Duke of Cambridge aimed directly to those countries who may hold referendums to forge a new future.
Speaking at the Governor General’s Reception at the Baha Mar Resort in The Bahamas, future king William said:
“Next year, I know you are all looking forward to celebrating fifty years of independence – your Golden Anniversary.
“And with Jamaica celebrating 60 years of independence this year, and Belize celebrating 40 years of independence last year, I want to say this: We support with pride and respect your decisions about your future.
“Relationships evolve. Friendship endures.”
The comments were a marked shift in tone from the rest of the eight day tour, where the Duke and Duchess battled against a wave of anti-monarchist protest and sentiment, during their first tour of the region.
It is understood the words directly addressing the futures of those nations who may yet choose to cut ties with the monarchy were added late in the day following reports in The Mirror and other major news networks including the BBC and ITV which questioned the wisdom of the tour and its success this week.
There have been claims of PR blunders such as with images of the Cambridges riding high atop a Land Rover or greeting children through metal fencing.
With scrutiny over white privilege, in the Cambridges’ first major tour since the start of the pandemic, it did not appear to strike the right chord often.
A jolly trip down memory lane was the foundation for this quite often haphazardly organised ode to a bygone era.
And William and Kate looked uncomfortable at times away from what they do best which is meeting and chatting with people.
It started on a bad note with a protest by an indigenous community in Belize.
Small in number but mighty in voice, locals railed against the couple for showing an apparent lack of respect after not being consulted and alleged demands to land a helicopter on a school field.
With placards carrying the message, “Prince William Leave Our Land”, it was the start nobody would have wished for. A hastily pushed-out local government notice that declared a misunderstanding, which had nothing to do with the future king and his wife, was not enough.
William also spoke of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in The Bahamas, and the “fond memories” that she had of visiting the Carribean.
William continued: “Tonight, we gather to mark another milestone.
“I am delighted to be able to convey to you all a message of good wishes from my grandmother, The Queen of The Bahamas, on the occasion of her Platinum Jubilee.
“The Queen has fond memories of her many visits here to The Bahamas.
“From speaking to people today, including lots of excited school children across the family islands this morning, it is touching to see your deep admiration for The Queen and her seventy years of dedicated service to the Commonwealth.
“I know as well that my grandfather, The Duke of Edinburgh, had a soft spot for The Bahamas.
“Catherine and I were thinking about him today as we celebrated the return of sloop sailing here by racing off Montagu Beach. He would have been in his element!”
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