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Prince William reflects on his controversial Caribbean trip: ‘We learned so much’

Written by Javed Iqbal

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Prince William reflects on his controversial royal Caribbean tour from 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 reached out to the Caribbean community in Britain in a groundbreaking speech.

Windrush Day was named after Empire Windrush, a ship that brought hundreds of Caribbean immigrants to Britain in June 1948 to help fill a labor shortage after World War II, People magazine reported. According to the business, thousands of people, invented “The Windrush Generation”, settled in Britain to help cities and industries rebuild after the war until the early 1970s. In 2018, Windrush Day was officially marked as a holiday by the government.

The business noted that the inaugural celebration came amid the Windrush scandal, in which hundreds of Caribbean immigrants living and working in the UK were mistakenly targeted by immigration enforcement. The monument was created to symbolize the courage and resilience of the British-Caribbean people.

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Prince William speaks at the unveiling of the National Windrush Monument at Waterloo Station in London on 22 June 2022.

Prince William speaks at the unveiling of the National Windrush Monument at Waterloo Station in London on 22 June 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. Not only did they encounter backlash for their visit, but they encountered growing tensions in the countries where Williams’ grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, remains head of state.

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

“My family has been proud to celebrate this for decades – whether it was through support from my dad on Windrush Day, or recently during my grandmother’s platinum anniversary, when people from all walks of life came together to recognize all that has changed over the last 70 years and look 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 so much. Not only about the various topics 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 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 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 governance of the Caribbean nations after his turn.

“I know this tour has brought even sharper focus on issues of 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. Traveling abroad is an opportunity to reflect. You learn so much. What are prime ministers thinking about? School children’s hopes and ambitions. Daily challenges facing families and communities “We have really enjoyed spending time with communities in all three countries and understanding more about the issues that matter most to them.”

“Catherine and I are committed to serving,” William continued. “For us, it’s not about telling people what to do. It’s about servicing and supporting them in the way they like best, using the platform we’re lucky to have. That’s why trips as this confirms our desire to serve the people.of the Commonwealth and to listen to communities around the world.Who the Commonwealth chooses to lead its family in the future is not what I think of.What matters to us is the potential of the Commonwealth family to create a better future for the Commonwealth, the people who make it, and our commitment to serve and support as best we can. “

The royal tour was criticized for being “tone deaf” for maintaining images of Britain’s colonial rule. Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness told the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge that his country intended to become a republic and remove the British monarch as its head of state.

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

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

The young royals visited the three nations as representatives of the Queen, 96, who recently celebrated 70 years on the throne. During these seven decades she has been head of state of the United Kingdom and 14 “kingdoms” that were once colonies of the British Empire and are now independent countries.

The royal couple were greeted by protesters demanding an apology for the role Britain played in the slavery of millions of Africans and compensation for the damage caused by slavery. During a speech in Jamaica, William expressed his “deep sorrow” over slavery, but stopped offering an apology.

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

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

People protest 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 decide on their continued relationship with the Crown, William said he wanted to continue to serve them through the Commonwealth, a voluntary association of 54 countries with historic links to Britain. The Queen has been the leader of the Commonwealth throughout her reign, and Prince Charles, Williams’ father, is her designated successor.

The couple’s trip to Belize also got into trouble when a planned visit to a cocoa farm in Belize was scrapped due to local opposition.

According to local reports, a protest was staged 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 villagers and Flora and Fauna International, a charity William supports as a patron.

A spokesman for Kensington Palace told Fox News Digital that “due to sensitive issues involving the community of Indian Creek, the visit has been moved to another 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 / Samir Hussein / WireImage)

In November, Charles, 73, condemned “the cruelty 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.

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Javed Iqbal

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