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Britain’s Prince William supports countries that no longer want to be part of the Commonwealth and want to become a republic. The prince said this during an eight-day trip through the Caribbean, which, according to British media, was overshadowed by PR blunders by the royal couple and protests against the UK’s slavery past.
Today in Nassau, Prince William said: “While Jamaica celebrates 60 years of independence this year and Belize celebrates 40 years of independence last year, let me say we support and respect your own decisions about your future. Relationships are evolving. The friendship continues.” The capital of the Bahamas.
Prince William spoke at a dinner in the Bahamas:
Prince William: ‘Respect for self-determination’
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness told the couple earlier this week that the island wants to become a republic. “Jamaica is a free and liberal country and the people are very frank. I’m sure you saw all of that yesterday.”
“My grandparents came from generations of slaves,” writer and historian Velma McClemont explains the drive for independence Watchman. “But they died thinking Jamaica was completely independent. Sixty years later, it’s still an extension of the British Empire. A country in itself.”
“Tone error and deafness”
Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton are making the eight-day trip to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s accession to the throne. But calls for Commonwealth secession, reparations, and apologies for slavery’s past get special attention.
Demonstrations took place in several locations and the government commission in the Bahamas urged the royal family to “a full and official apology for their crimes against humanity.” Earlier this week in Jamaica, the prince said he “regretted” his country’s role in its slavery past.
The British media also talked about blunders in public relations that cast a shadow over the prince and his wife’s trip. For example, the couple was photographed shaking hands with Jamaican children who had to stand behind a fence. Britain’s Daily Mirror newspaper talks about a “fatal error in tone” reminiscent of the colonial era.
What could William and Kate do better? According to Trevor Burnard, director of the Institute for Slavery and Emancipation at the University of Hull, in addition to an apology, the couple would have been able to go to memorial sites associated with slavery, such as the port in Kingston, the capital of Jamaica.
“They should realize that members of the royal family, from Charles II to William IV, engaged in and supported slavery and the slave trade, and that this is a thing of the past,” he told the Guardian.
Prince William and Kate wrap up their trip in the Bahamas today.
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