Prince William Friday said the British royal family would support Bahama’s decisions about its future, on the third stop of a Caribbean tour that has been met with protests in a region increasingly weighing its future relations with the UK’s monarchy.
Speaking at a reception hosted by the Governor General of The Bahamas in Nassau, William — whose official title is the Duke of Cambridge — noted the upcoming 50th anniversary of the former colony’s independence from Britain.
“And with Jamaica celebrating 60 years of independence this year, and Belize celebrating 40 years of independence last year, I want to say this: we support with pride and respect your decisions about your future,” William said.
“Relationships evolve. Friendship endures.”
Prince William and Kate’s tour was intended to mark the 70th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
But it has instead been met with protests and accusations of being a “colonial tour”.
In Jamaica on Tuesday, placard-bearing protesters outside the British High Commission ahead of the royals’ arrival demanded that the monarchy pay reparations and apologise for its role in the slave trade that brought hundreds of thousands of Africans to the island to toil under inhumane conditions.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness then pointedly told William in front of television cameras that the nation was “moving on” as an independent country.
The visit follows increasing calls for Jamaica to follow Barbados and become a republic by ditching the queen as head of state.
William during that trip expressed his “profound sorrow” about the history of slavery, calling the practice “abhorrent”.
“It should never have happened,” he said.
But so far, no formal apology has been made by the British royal family.
The visit came as Britain increasingly confronts its colonial past, in particular its memorials to historical figures with ties to the slave trade.
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