The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were told the world will likely never again see a reign as long as the queen’s 70 years as they began the final leg of their eventful tour of the Caribbean.
William and Kate arrived in the Bahamas from Jamaica, where they were greeted by euphoric crowds in Bob Marley’s former Kingston neighborhood and faced heavy criticism from activists seeking reparations from the monarchy for their role in the slave trade.
The Bahamas National Reparations Committee (BNRC) has raised concerns about the royal visit, issuing a strongly worded document a few days ago.
The organization claimed that the monarchy “plundered and plundered our land and our people for centuries, leaving us struggling against development, left to pick up the pieces.”
William and Kate’s final event in the birthplace of reggae music was being guests of honor at a swooning parade for new officers in Kingston, which was a throwback to royal tours of the 1950s with the couple standing in the back of a Land Rover as they were driven off the parade ground.
Philip Davis, Prime Minister of the Bahamas, welcomed the couple to his nation on Thursday, saying: “And our best wishes go out to the Queen, and congratulations on her Platinum Jubilee.
“I don’t think we’ll ever see the same thing again,” to which William nodded.
Mr. Davis also told the future king, who traveled to Belize with his wife during his tour: “We have been looking forward to your arrival. A long time ago. We are delighted that you are here.”
The Duke responded: “Yes, very excited to be here.”
The Caribbean nation is dwarfed by its giant neighbor the United States, but its beautiful beaches and mild climate are a big draw for tourists, while its offshore financial services industry is also a major revenue generator.
The archipelago of 700 islands and islets was the first stop in the Western Hemisphere of famous explorer Christopher Columbus in 1492.
Centuries later, the now-prosperous islands gained independence from Britain in 1973.
But as in many parts of the world, resentment against colonialism and its legacy has been growing amid the Black Lives Matter movement, and in Belize the venue was hastily rearranged for a royal visit after anti-royal sentiment and protests in a town.
The duke addressed the issue of slavery during a speech in Jamaica denouncing it as “abhorrent” and saying it “should never have happened.”
William also expressed his “deep sorrow” at the forced transportation of millions of people from Africa to the Caribbean and North America, a trade that British monarchs supported or profited from during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Speaking during her visit to Jamaica with Kate, she echoed the words of her father, the Prince of Wales, describing the slave trade as a “appalling atrocity” that “stains our history” and acknowledged Jamaica’s “pain”. .
The future king was unapologetic, just as his father Charles was unapologetic, during his trip to witness the conversion of Barbados into a republic in November.
Later, during their first full day in the Bahamas, the pair will travel to the islands’ waters to join a regatta in honor of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and are expected to compete against each other.
The couple will visit students at Sybil Strachan Elementary School in Nassau and join an assembly, as well as spend time with key workers and frontline staff at an informal gathering in the Garden of Remembrance, also in the capital, to hear about their experiences of the pandemic.
In the evening they will attend a dinner hosted by Governor General Sir Cornelius Smith with community leaders and local heroes and the Duke will deliver a speech.