Prince William reflects on his controversial Caribbean tour: ‘We learned a lot’

Prince William reflects on his controversial Caribbean tour: ‘We learned a lot’

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Prince William has been considering his controversial royal tour of the Caribbean since earlier this year.

On Wednesday, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended the unveiling of the National Windrush Memorial at Waterloo station, where the prince reached out to the UK’s Caribbean community in an important speech.

As People magazine reports, Windrush Day was named after the Empire Windrush, a ship that brought hundreds of Caribbean immigrants to Britain in June 1948 to meet the labor shortage after World War II . Thousands, coined “The Windrush Generation,” according to the outlet, settled in the UK by the early 70s to help rebuild post-war cities and industries. In 2018, Windrush Day was officially marked as a day of celebration by the government.

The outlet noted that the opening ceremony took place in the midst of the Windrush scandal, in which hundreds of Caribbean immigrants seeking to live and work in the UK were unfairly targeted by immigration enforcement. The monument was built to symbolize the courage and resilience of the British-Caribbean people.

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

The couple’s appearance came months after they went on a tour of the Caribbean in March. He faced backlash not only for his visit, but also with rising tensions in countries where William’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, remains head of state.

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

“My family has been proud to celebrate it for decades – whether it’s through my father’s support on Windrush Day, or most recently during my grandmother’s Platinum Jubilee, as people from all communities and backgrounds celebrate them all. came together to accept what has changed. Look to the past 70 years and the future,” said the 40-year-old

“It’s something that resonated with Catherine and me after our trip to the Caribbean earlier this year,” he continued. “Our visit was an opportunity to reflect, and we learned a lot. Not only about the various issues that matter most to the people of the region, but also about how the past impacts 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 Memorial created by Jamaican artist Basil Watson, left at Waterloo Station In London on 22 June 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 Memorial created by Jamaican artist Basil Watson, left at Waterloo Station In London on 22 June 2022.
(John Sibley/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Earlier, William had spoken about the future governance of the Caribbean countries after his tour.

“I know this tour has brought up even more focused questions about the past and the future,” Prince said at the time. “In Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas, that future is for the people to decide. Foreign tours are an opportunity to reflect. You learn a lot. What’s on the minds of prime ministers. The hopes and ambitions of schoolchildren. In front of families and communities.” The day-to-day challenges… We have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with communities in all three countries, learning more about the issues that matter most to them.”

“Katherine and I are committed to the service,” William continued. “For us, it’s not telling people what to do. It’s about serving and supporting them in the way they think is best, the platform we are fortunate to be using. That’s why Visits like these reaffirm our desire to serve people. To listen to the Commonwealth and to communities around the world. Who the Commonwealth chooses to lead its family in the future is not on my mind. For us What matters is our ability to build a better future for the Commonwealth family by the people who make it, and our commitment to serve and support as much as we can.”

The royal tour was criticized for being “tone-deaf” in order to perpetuate images of Britain’s colonial rule. Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness told the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge that their country intended to become a republic, removing the British monarch as its head of state.

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

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

The young royals visited three countries as representatives of the 96-year-old queen, who recently completed 70 years on the throne. During those seven decades, she has been the head of state for the United Kingdom and 14 “territories” that were once colonies of the British Empire and are now independent countries.

Protesters welcomed the royal couple to apologize for Britain’s role in enslaved millions of Africans and compensate for the damage caused by slavery. During a speech in Jamaica, William expressed his “deep sorrow” for slavery, but refrained from apologizing.

William recognized the changing nature of relations 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,” said William. “Relationships develop. Friendships last.”

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People protest the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on March 22, 2022 in Kingston, Jamaica.

People protest the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on March 22, 2022 in Kingston, Jamaica.
(Ricardo Maquin/AFP via Getty Images)

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

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

According to local reports, a protest was held at the Indian Creek village at the foot of the Maya Mountains to protest the royal visit to the Akte ‘Il Ha Cacao Farm. Belize news outlet Channel 7 reported that there is a dispute between residents of the village and Flora and Fauna International, a conservation charity William supports as a patron.

A spokesperson for Kensington Palace told Fox News Digital that “due to sensitive issues involving the community at Indian Creek, the visit has been moved to a different location.”

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

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

In November, Charles, 73, denounced the “tyranny 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.

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