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Prince William thinks of His Controversial Royal Caribbean Tour from earlier this year.
On Wednesday, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended the unveiling of Windrush National Monument in Waterloo Station, where the Prince reached out to the UK’s Caribbean community in a groundbreaking speech.
The Windrush Day is named after the Empire Windrush, a ship that brought hundreds of Caribbean immigrants to the UK in June 1948 to help fill the post-WWII labor shortage, People magazine reported. According to the outlet, thousands of people, called the Windrush generation, settled in the UK to help cities and industries rebuild after the war until the early 1970s. In 2018, Windrush Day was officially observed as a day of celebration by the government.
The outlet noted that the opening ceremony came amid the Windrush scandal, which has seen hundreds of Caribbean immigrants living and working in the UK wrongly targeted by immigration authorities. The memorial was created to symbolize the courage and resilience of the British Caribbean people.
The couple’s appearance came months after they toured the Caribbean in March. Not only did they face a backlash for their visit, but they also faced growing tensions in the countries where they are William’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, remained head of state.
During his speech at the unveiling ceremony, William described how diversity is “very important to our country.”
“My family has been proud to celebrate this for decades – whether it’s with the support of my father on Windrush Day, or more recently during my grandmother’s Platinum Jubilee, where people from all communities and backgrounds came together to acknowledge everything that has changed over the past 70 years and look to the future.”
“This is something that resonated with Catherine and I after our visit to the Caribbean earlier this year,” he continued. “Our trip was an opportunity to reflect, and we learned a lot. Not only about the different issues that matter to the people of the region, but also how the past greatly influences the present.”
William previously spoke about the future governance of the Caribbean nations after his tour.
“I know this tour has brought more nuanced focus questions about the past and the future,” the prince said at the time. “In Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas, that future is up to the people to decide. Outdoor tours are a chance to reflect. You learn a lot. What prime ministers have in mind. The hopes and aspirations of school children. The daily challenges that families and communities face… We thoroughly enjoyed spending time with communities in the three countries, and understand more about the issues that matter most to them.”
“Catherine and I are committed to serving,” William continued. “For us, this is not telling people what to do. It is about serving and supporting them in whatever way they think is best, by using the platform we are fortunate to have. That is why tours like this underscore our desire to serve people from the Commonwealth and listen to communities across The world. Who the Commonwealth chooses to lead his family into the future is not what I have in mind. What matters to us is the ability of the Commonwealth family to create a better future for the people who shape it, and our commitment to serve and support as best we can.”
The royal tour has been criticized as being “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.
Members of the royal family visited the three countries As representatives of the Queen, 96, who recently celebrated 70 years on the throne. During those seven decades, she was the head of state of the United Kingdom and 14 “kingdoms” that were once colonies of the British Empire and are now independent nations.
The protesters greeted the royal couple and demanded an apology for the role Britain played in enslaving millions of Africans and reparations for the damages caused by slavery. During a speech in Jamaica, William expressed his “deep sorrow” for slavery but stopped short of offering an apology.
William recognized the changing nature of the links between Britain and its former colonies during a speech Friday night in Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas.
“We proudly support and respect your decisions about your future,” William said. “Relationships develop and friendships remain.”
Regardless of what the former colonies decide about their continuing relationship with the Crown, William said he wanted to continue serving them through the Commonwealth, a voluntary union of 54 nations with historical ties to Britain. The Queen has been at 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 hit a snag when a planned visit to a cocoa farm in Belize was canceled due to local opposition.
According to local reports, a protest has been held against the royal visit to the Akti Il Ha cocoa farm in the village of Indian Creek in the foothills of the Mayan Mountains. Channel 7 News in Belize reports that there is a dispute between the villagers and Flora and Fauna International, a conservation charity that William supports as patron.
Kensington Palace spokesperson She told Fox News Digital that “due to sensitive issues related to the community in Indian Creek, the visit has been moved to a different location.”
In November, Charles, 73, denounced the “atrocity of slavery” and Britain’s legacy of the slave trade as Barbados removed his mother, the Queen, as head of state.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.