Prince William reflects on his controversial Caribbean tour: “We’ve learned so much”

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Prince William is reflecting on his controversial Royal Caribbean tour earlier this year.

On Wednesday, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended the unveiling of the National Windrush Monument at Waterloo Station, where the prince contacted the UK’s Caribbean community in a groundbreaking speech.

Windrush Day was named for the Empire Windrush, a ship that brought hundreds of Caribbean immigrants to the UK in June 1948 to help fill a post WWII labor shortage, People magazine reported. According to the outlet, thousands of people, coined “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 marked by the government as a day of celebration.

The outlet noted that the inaugural celebration took place during the Windrush scandal, which saw hundreds of Caribbean immigrants living and working in the UK targeted by immigration law enforcement. The monument was created to symbolize the courage and resilience of the Anglo-Caribbean people.

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

The couple’s appearance came months after they embarked on a tour of the Caribbean in March. Not only have they faced setbacks for their visit, but they have encountered growing tensions in nations where William’s grandmother Queen Elizabeth remains head of state.

During his presentation speech, William described how diversity is “so important to our country”.

“My family has been proud to celebrate this event for decades, both through my father’s support on Windrush Day, and more recently during my grandmother’s Platinum Jubilee, as people from all communities and backgrounds came together to acknowledge everything. what has changed in the past 70 years and looking to the future, “said the 40-year-old

“This is something that resonated with Catherine and me 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 most to the people of the region, but also about how the past weighs heavily on 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 Monument 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 Monument 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 spoke about the future government of the Caribbean nations after his tour.

“I know this tour has focused on even sharper 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. Travel abroad is an opportunity to reflect. You learn so much. What’s on the minds of prime ministers. The hopes and ambitions of the children of the schools. the daily challenges faced by families and communities … We have enjoyed spending time with communities in all three countries, better understanding the issues that matter most to them. “

“Catherine and I are committed to serving,” continued William. “For us, this doesn’t mean telling people what to do. It’s about serving and supporting them in whatever way they see fit, using the platform we’re lucky to have. That’s why tours like this reaffirm our desire to serve the people of the world. Commonwealth and to listen to communities around the world. Whoever chooses the Commonwealth to lead their family in the future is not what I have in mind. What matters to us is the potential that the Commonwealth family has to create a better future for the people who make it up and our commitment to serve and support in the best possible way “.

The royal tour has been criticized as “deaf and dumb” for perpetuating the images of British colonial rule. Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness told the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge that his country intended to become a republic, removing the British monarch as head of state.

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Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge speak with attendees 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 attendees 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 the three nations on behalf of the 96-year-old queen, who recently celebrated her 70th birthday on the throne. During those seven decades, she was head of state for the United Kingdom and 14 “kingdoms” which were once colonies of the British Empire and are now independent countries.

The royal couple were greeted by protesters demanding an apology for Britain’s role in enslaving millions of Africans and reparations for the damage caused by slavery. During a speech in Jamaica, William expressed his “deep sorrow” about slavery, but stopped before apologizing.

William acknowledged 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,” said William. “Relationships evolve. Friendship lasts.”

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

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

Whatever the former colonies decided about their continued relationship with the crown, William said he wanted to continue serving them through the Commonwealth, a voluntary association of 54 countries with historical ties to Britain. The Queen served as head of the Commonwealth during her reign and Prince Charles, William’s father, is her designated successor.

The couple’s trip to Belize also suffered a setback when a planned visit to a cocoa farm in Belize was demolished due to local opposition.

According to local reports, a protest was organized against the royal visit to the Akte ‘il Ha cocoa farm in the village of Indian Creek, at the foot of the Mayan mountains. Belize news channel Channel 7 reported that there is a dispute between the residents of the village and Flora and Fauna International, a conservation charity that William supports as a patron.

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

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

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

In November, 73-year-old Charles denounced “the atrocity of slavery” and Britain’s legacy of the slave trade when Barbados removed his mother, the queen, as head of state.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.