March 27, 2022 | 12:09pm
The Duke of Cambridge released a statement saying that he saw the trip “opportunity to reflect” and that he is committed to supporting Commonwealth countries in “whatever way they think best.”
CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images
Prince William said his controversial tour of the Caribbean was an “opportunity to reflect” and that he is committed to supporting Commonwealth countries in “whatever way they think best.”
The Duke of Cambridge released the unprecedented statement Saturday at the close of his eight-day tour with wife Kate to Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas that was marred by protests over Britain’s colonial past in the region.
“I know that this tour has brought into even sharper focus questions about the past and the future,” William said. “In Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas, that future is for the people to decide upon.”
In the statement, the prince said that foreign tours are an “opportunity to reflect.”
“You learn so much,” he said. “What is on the minds of prime ministers. The hopes and ambitions of school children. The day-to-day challenges faced by families and communities.”
He said that he and his wife “thoroughly enjoyed spending time with communities in all three countries, understanding more about the issues that matter most to them.”
“For us that’s not telling people what to do. It is about serving and supporting them in whatever way they think best, by using the platform we are lucky to have,” he said.
He added that he was not thinking about who would be head of the Commonwealth of Nations, a group of 54 countries led by his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth.
“Who the Commonwealth chooses to lead its family in the future isn’t what is on my mind,” he said. “What matters to us is the potential the Commonwealth family has to create a better future for the people who form it, and our commitment to serve and support as best as we can.”
Protesters in the countries slammed the Duke and Duchess’ visit as the “colonial tour” and demanded that the royal family apologize for its role in the slave trade.
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness told Prince William that his country was “moving on” in remarks that suggested the island nation would follow in the footsteps of Barbados, which became a republic last year and removed the Queen as its head of state.
Meanwhile, the trip also faced criticism over photo-ops that called back to colonial times, such as the royals shaking hands with Jamaican children through wire fences and the couple standing on an open-top vehicle to observe a military parade that recreated an image of Queen Elizabeth doing the same thing in the 1950s.