United Kingdom

Wills: ‘I may never head the Commonwealth’

Prince William has admitted he might never succeed the Queen as head of the Commonwealth following his trouble-hit visit to the Caribbean.

In an unprecedented end-of-tour statement, the Duke addressed the growing republican sentiment the trip had inadvertently highlighted, acknowledging it had ‘brought into even sharper focus questions about the past and the future’.

His week-long trip with Kate, which came to an end last night, has been plagued by public relations gaffes and protests about British colonialism, which led to the endeavour being branded ‘tone deaf’ to modern sensibilities.

William tacitly acknowledged the anti-royalist sentiment, in his extraordinary statement, saying that while he was ‘committed to service’, that involved ‘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 added.

Prince William has admitted he might never succeed the Queen as head of the Commonwealth following his trouble-hit visit to the Caribbean

The trip was designed to bolster the popularity of the Royal Family in the Caribbean, where many of the current Commonwealth countries are considering switching to an elected head of state rather than a monarch

The trip was designed to bolster the popularity of the Royal Family in the Caribbean, where many of the current Commonwealth countries are considering switching to an elected head of state rather than a monarch

Despite all the problems, the couple ended the tour on a high yesterday as they joked with locals while trying street food at a beach in the Bahamas William’s statement was welcomed as ‘astute’ by Tobias Ellwood, the Tory chairman of the Commons Defence Committee, as it opened the possibility of the leader of another Commonwealth nation heading the whole organisation

Despite all the problems, the couple ended the tour on a high yesterday as they joked with locals while trying street food at a beach in the Bahamas William’s statement was welcomed as ‘astute’ by Tobias Ellwood, the Tory chairman of the Commons Defence Committee, as it opened the possibility of the leader of another Commonwealth nation heading the whole organisation

Kate wore a yellow floral patterned dress with silver belt detail and a bow at the chest, while Prince William donned a navy blue suit with a burgundy tie as they waved to the Bahamian officials

Kate wore a yellow floral patterned dress with silver belt detail and a bow at the chest, while Prince William donned a navy blue suit with a burgundy tie as they waved to the Bahamian officials

Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge wave goodbye as they boarded the royal aircraft to take them back to the UK after their week-long tour of the Caribbean

Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge wave goodbye as they boarded the royal aircraft to take them back to the UK after their week-long tour of the Caribbean 

Using the Land Rover was meant as a tribute to The Queen but was labelled a 'throwback'

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh wave from the back of an open Land Rover as they drive past long lines of children during a visit to the children's rally at Sabina Park, Kingston in Jamaica in November 1953

The pictures that changed everything: Using the Land Rover was meant as a tribute to The Queen but was labelled a ‘throwback’. Right: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh wave from the back of an open Land Rover as they drive past long lines of children during a visit to the children’s rally at Sabina Park, Kingston in Jamaica in November 1953

The couple arrived in Trench Town, a district of Jamaica's capital Kingston, to thousands of cheering well-wishers. But images of the Cambridges reaching through a wire fence to shake hands were criticised

The couple arrived in Trench Town, a district of Jamaica’s capital Kingston, to thousands of cheering well-wishers. But images of the Cambridges reaching through a wire fence to shake hands were criticised

William and Kate’s full statement 

Foreign tours are an opportunity to reflect. You learn so much. 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.

I know that this tour has brought into even sharper focus questions about the past and the future. In Belize, Jamaica and The Bahamas, that future is for the people to decide upon. But we have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with communities in all three countries, understanding more about the issues that matter most to them.

Catherine and I are committed to service. 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.

It is why tours such as this reaffirm 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 isn’t what is on my mind. 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 we can.

‘It is why tours such as this reaffirm 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 isn’t what is on my mind.’

The statement – which comes against the backdrop of the Queen’s growing frailty and doubts about whether she will be able to attend the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service on Tuesday – effectively concedes that cracks are appearing in the Commonwealth, which has been the pride of her 70-year reign.

By breaking the Monarchy’s age-old ‘never complain, never explain’ mantra, the Duke was signalling that the tour of Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas had not gone as expected.

One walkabout led to heavily criticised pictures of the Duke and Duchess shaking hands with impoverished children through a fence in Trench Town, Jamaica.

Further criticism, led by the BBC, came when the couple inspected a military parade in an open-topped Land Rover which had been used by the Queen in 1953.

Royal insiders admitted the moment, designed as a homage to the Queen, had been poorly received. One said: ‘It was a throwback to a bygone era – and also impinged on the god-like status of the Queen.’

However, another senior royal insider indicated that William’s statement indicated the 39-year-old Prince was ‘coming of age’.

They said: ‘William wanted to acknowledge that not everything on the tour landed the right way, but the couple are of the generation which learns from mistakes.

‘You have to look like you know it’s not all worked, acknowledge the world has changed and react, not double down.

‘He was showing that he understands that it can’t be taken for granted that he will lead the Commonwealth – you serve as long as the people want you to serve, you listen, accept their choices and change if you need to.

‘That’s how the Commonwealth survives in the end, by not forcing anything.’

The insider added that the impetus for the statement had ‘come from KP’ – Kensington Palace – rather than Prince Charles, who was not mentioned. It is thought the Queen was made aware of yesterday’s statement before it was released.

The Queen has been head of the Commonwealth since coming to the Throne in 1952.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited a fish fry today with Kate, in a pink Rixo dress, trying local delicacy ‘conch pistol’ – said to have the same effect as viagra

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited a fish fry today with Kate, in a pink Rixo dress, trying local delicacy ‘conch pistol’ – said to have the same effect as viagra

She held up the strip of flesh, which comes from the inside of the conch and is commonly said to be the conch’s male genitalia, before putting it in her mouth to applause from the crowds 

Mr Adderley said: ‘She was a good helper. I’d like her to stay and help me at the stall’

Mr Adderley said: ‘She was a good helper. I’d like her to stay and help me at the stall’

Kate said: ‘I’m a little bit more adventurous than William is.’ As the pair joked around, he said: ‘I can handle it’

Kate said: ‘I’m a little bit more adventurous than William is.’ As the pair joked around, he said: ‘I can handle it’ 

By breaking the Monarchy’s age-old ‘never complain, never explain’ mantra, the Duke was signalling that the tour of Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas had not gone as expected

By breaking the Monarchy’s age-old ‘never complain, never explain’ mantra, the Duke was signalling that the tour of Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas had not gone as expected

One local girl allowed Kate to have a look at the photo she had taken with her Nikon camera

One local girl allowed Kate to have a look at the photo she had taken with her Nikon camera

 

As well as the UK, she is head of state for 14 other nations, called realms. Last year, Barbados removed the Queen as head of state, but remains in the Commonwealth. The Mail on Sunday can also reveal that William:

  • Agonised for months over the tour for fear of how it would be perceived but decided it was ‘better to go’;
  • Made a last-minute change to a speech on Friday in the face of criticism about the colonial overtones, adding a section to show he realised countries may choose to remove the Queen as head of state;
  • Persuaded Jamaican-born former equerry Major David Clarke to come out of retirement to join him on the trip;
  • Took a private charter jet to visit the winner of his environmental prize on an island in the Bahamas;
  • Consulted the Queen for advice before the tour.

We can also disclose that William’s aides asked tabloid newspapers to put his picture on the front pages, so Kate didn’t appear alone.

Despite all the problems, the couple ended the tour on a high yesterday as they joked with locals while trying street food at a beach in the Bahamas William’s statement was welcomed as ‘astute’ by Tobias Ellwood, the Tory chairman of the Commons Defence Committee, as it opened the possibility of the leader of another Commonwealth nation heading the whole organisation.

Mr Ellwood said: ‘He is quite wisely introducing the notion that the future leadership of the Commonwealth should be determined on a more democratic basis.

‘In the longer term, it is absolutely right that the leadership of his important organisation should be opened up.

‘It shouldn’t necessarily always be the UK. But it’s a missed opportunity that such insight was not offered prior to the Jamaica visit. Had William shared these thought-provoking ideas before his arrival it would have, no doubt, triggered a more friendly and pragmatic atmosphere during his time there.’

A source said that for months beforehand, William had ‘wrestled’ with the idea of the tour ‘and what realms mean in this day and age’. They added the ‘humility’ of the Prince’s sentiments was an acknowledgement that the tour had been bungled.

William took a shine to a 13-year-old who used a wheelchair, and when he asked the boy what he wanted to do the youngster replied, 'play soccer' and they head towards two goals

William took a shine to a 13-year-old who used a wheelchair, and when he asked the boy what he wanted to do the youngster replied, ‘play soccer’ and they head towards two goals

The future king was visiting the centre with wife Kate to meet the youngsters in the home’s extensive garden and learn about their lives

The future king was visiting the centre with wife Kate to meet the youngsters in the home’s extensive garden and learn about their lives

Located on the island of Grand Bahama, the children's home was established in 1977 by the local community and has cared for over 900 children in the past 45 years (Prince William pushing the swings at the home)

Located on the island of Grand Bahama, the children’s home was established in 1977 by the local community and has cared for over 900 children in the past 45 years (Prince William pushing the swings at the home)

The image of a privileged white couple meeting poor black children was said to be ‘troubling’ to William before the trip but ‘he decided in the end that it was better to go and meet people rather than stay at home’.

The source said: ‘William was always going to talk about slavery in Jamaica. That was a given. But on Friday morning he sat down with his private secretary Jean-Christophe Gray and redrafted a speech he was due to give that night to include lines about how he had reflected on what he had heard during the tour.’

The decision led to Prince William telling dignitaries at the Governor-General’s reception in the Bahamas: ‘We support with pride and respect your decisions about your future. Relationships evolve. Friendship endures.’

Last night the Prince went even further, thinking ahead to a time when he will be on the Throne and revealing his thoughts on the future of the Monarchy.

His statement said: ‘Foreign tours are an opportunity to reflect. You learn so much. 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.

‘I know that this tour has brought into even sharper focus questions about the past and the future.

‘In Belize, Jamaica and The Bahamas, that future is for the people to decide upon.

‘But we have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with communities in all three countries, understanding more about the issues that matter most to them.’ A source close to William said of last night’s statement: ‘This is about modern Monarchy.’

Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness has made ditching the Queen as head of state a priority of his government. Last week, Mr Holness told Kate and William during an awkward official meeting that his country was ‘moving on’.

Maintaining good relations with the 54 Commonwealth countries is often cited as one of the biggest achievements of Her Majesty’s reign.

In 2018, Commonwealth leaders voted that Prince Charles would eventually succeed the Queen as the head of the Commonwealth after she said it was her ‘sincere wish’ for that to happen.

During her Christmas broadcast of 1953 the Queen set out its goals, saying: ‘The Commonwealth bears no resemblance to the empires of the past. It is an entirely new conception built on the highest qualities of the spirit of man: friendship, loyalty, and the desire for freedom and peace.’ 

Prince William has just given us the first glimpse of how he’ll rule when he becomes King, writes RICHARD KAY

Prince William is one of the most popular and personable figures the Royal Family has had in years. 

The public can see that he has his mother’s touch and that his heart is in the right place. 

With the always elegant Duchess of Cambridge at his side, approval ratings have soared. 

And in the aftermath of the Harry and Meghan fiasco, and the Prince Andrew saga, he has steadied the Royal ship.

So what are we to make of last night’s hastily drafted statement in which you could almost hear his angry voice dictating the words?

Prince William is one of the most popular and personable figures the Royal Family has had in years. The public can see that he has his mother's touch and that his heart is in the right place.(Above, he meets members of the public during a visit to Fish Fry - a culinary gathering place found on every island in the Bahamas)

Prince William is one of the most popular and personable figures the Royal Family has had in years. The public can see that he has his mother’s touch and that his heart is in the right place.(Above, he meets members of the public during a visit to Fish Fry – a culinary gathering place found on every island in the Bahamas)

Unhappiness certainly at the criticism that has been levelled at him and Kate for the public relations missteps that marred their Caribbean tour.

But at the same time he has given us a glimpse of the kind of thoughtful man William, at 39, is turning into and, crucially, what sort of King he will be.

When was the last time – if ever – a senior member of the Royal Family went on record to acknowledge mistakes?

And in his statement William did just that. He wants us to see that he and Kate will not turn away from censure but rather learn from it.

 

His tone of mildly injured hurt is probably justifiable, especially in the light of those commentators such as the BBC’s Royal Correspondent who appeared to blame the couple themselves for being responsible for cack-handed photo-opportunities and misreading of post-colonial sensitivities in the era of Black Lives Matter.

One particular picture of the couple joyfully making fleeting contact with the outstretched fingers of Jamaican children pushing through a wire fence will haunt Royal planners, who should have realised what a damaging image it might convey.

The same might be said of the Land Rover salute that was meant as a homage to the Queen and Prince Philip’s visit seven decades earlier but which some said presented an out-of-touch reminder of a more deferential age.

It is highly unusual for a statement to be issued at the conclusion of a tour and when the cheers of the crowds in the Bahamas were almost still audible.

Perhaps William wanted the world to know how he – and Kate – feel, that they are bruised at being blamed for things they do not think they are responsible for.

Certainly, it shows a refreshing willingness to engage with criticism, something that rarely if ever happens in Royal circles, where the stoic mantra has always been, ‘Never complain, never explain’.

Even as second in line to the throne you need government approval for speeches such as this. 

And the Foreign Office, which will face some searching questions over its bungling of the Cambridges’ three-nation tour, were only too happy to give him the go-ahead.

But was the statement the right thing to do?

Particularly since there was a key passage that has left critics and Royal supporters alike wondering why an issue was raised that never got discussed on the couple’s eight-day visit – the future of the Commonwealth.

It is 25 years since a Royal tour was last hit by the kind of setbacks the Cambridges have had to endure. That was the Queen's 1997 tour to India (above), which was a diplomatic disaster as a result largely of then Labour Foreign Secretary Robin Cook's comments that suggested he backed an independent Kashmir, and another own goal over the colonial legacy when the Blair government insisted on a visit to Amritsar, the site of a massacre in 1919

It is 25 years since a Royal tour was last hit by the kind of setbacks the Cambridges have had to endure. That was the Queen’s 1997 tour to India (above), which was a diplomatic disaster as a result largely of then Labour Foreign Secretary Robin Cook’s comments that suggested he backed an independent Kashmir, and another own goal over the colonial legacy when the Blair government insisted on a visit to Amritsar, the site of a massacre in 1919

Suddenly, William has opened up a tricky issue. Was he casting doubts on the role of Prince Charles, whom the Queen asked Commonwealth leaders to endorse as its next head?

Palace officials have assured that this was not the case and that William was referring to his own future prospects and wanted to emphasise that he was not taking anything for granted.

However, although it was a surprisingly clumsy intervention because his father’s reign was not mentioned, it does reveal a maturity to William that we rarely see in public.

It is 25 years since a Royal tour was last hit by the kind of setbacks the Cambridges have had to endure. 

That was the Queen’s 1997 tour to India, which was a diplomatic disaster as a result largely of then Labour Foreign Secretary Robin Cook’s comments that suggested he backed an independent Kashmir, and another own goal over the colonial legacy when the Blair government insisted on a visit to Amritsar, the site of a massacre in 1919.

On that occasion, the Queen came under fierce criticism for not issuing an adequate apology.

No such dramas afflicted William in the Caribbean, but he did discover, for the first time, that navigating the distant reaches of his grandmother’s realms is not always going to be plain sailing.

And he showed that, when trouble does come along, he is prepared to take the initiative and that he is listening.

While not obsessing about the media coverage he receives – in the way his brother Harry does – William also demonstrates that he is not prepared to simply stay silent.

Just as he did in the wake of the BBC inquiry into how Martin Bashir obtained his interview with Princess Diana, William showed fighting spirit. He barely controlled the passion he felt about how his mother had been tricked.

This time he was measured, but at the same time he has shown once again that he will not be pushed around.

For everyone who cares about the future of the Monarchy, these are dangerous times: Royal biographer CHRISTOPHER WILSON on an increasingly frail Queen and brickbats hurled at William and Kate’s tour

By Christopher Wilson 

Our Monarchy is a treasured but ultimately fragile jewel. The events of the past few days have shown that all too clearly. There are widespread concerns about the Queen’s health, while William and Kate endured several awkward moments during their Caribbean tour.

The couple returned home today having acquitted themselves with distinction, but the institution that they represent, and which has been such a key pillar of Britain’s national identity for centuries, has come under attack.

For many, the Monarchy is a refuge in times of crisis. Ugly events – war in Ukraine, Covid, the rising cost of living at home – can seem less of a threat if all remains calm and stable at the centre of things.

The Queen represents the beating heart of the nation, yet her advanced age and increasing frailty expose just how delicate the bond is between sovereign and people.

It is now increasingly clear that we should not expect to see our Head of State again at any of those traditional set pieces in the Royal year – Trooping the Colour, the State Opening of Parliament, Royal Ascot and the rest.

The Queen (pictured viewing a display of artefacts on March 23) represents the beating heart of the nation, yet her advanced age and increasing frailty expose just how delicate the bond is between sovereign and people, writes Christopher Wilson

The Queen (pictured viewing a display of artefacts on March 23) represents the beating heart of the nation, yet her advanced age and increasing frailty expose just how delicate the bond is between sovereign and people, writes Christopher Wilson

Yet there are no plans for a Regency, in which Prince Charles would formally take his mother’s place as Head of State. For on her 21st birthday, the Queen pledged: ‘I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service.’

In other words, she would never give up the throne.

But make no mistake, critics of the Monarchy are lining up to attack this keystone of the British state. And William and Kate’s overseas tour last week has given them more ammunition.

The Royal couple’s appearance in Jamaica, where republican feeling runs hot and strong, was a mis-step. Having tripped, they found it difficult to regain a steady momentum.

And despite an outstanding show of Royal professionalism in the harsh glare of tropical sunlight, the dependable Royal magic of old looked as though it was wearing thin.

With Barbados so recently turning its back on the Crown and declaring itself a republic, visiting Jamaica was always going to be a gamble. With hindsight, it’s easy to see the flaws in the Caribbean tour’s planning and perception.

Principally aired on social media but significantly, too, from the BBC’s Royal correspondent who described one event as ‘some sort of white-saviour parody.’

Then last night came William’s dramatic statement about the future of the Commonwealth.

For the millions who care about the future of the House of Windsor, these are dangerous times.

After her painful decision not to attend the annual Commonwealth Day service a fortnight ago, there is much anxiety over whether the Queen will go to Westminster Abbey on Tuesday for the memorial service for Prince Philip.

Quite understandably, she doesn’t wish her increasing mobility problems to be broadcast around the world.

Despite last week’s charming pictures of her in a floral dress, leaning lightly on a walking stick, things have clearly become a struggle for her.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are pictured paying their respects during a visit to Abaco's Memorial Wall on Saturday to remember the victims of the hurricane

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are pictured paying their respects during a visit to Abaco’s Memorial Wall on Saturday to remember the victims of the hurricane 

In refusing to step aside and take a back seat, it can be argued that the institution she heads is in danger of growing weaker with her.

Unquestionably, too, the combined losses of Prince Andrew and Prince Harry from the Royal ranks in deeply controversial circumstances, coupled with the death of Prince Philip, leave the Royal Family at its most vulnerable since the 1936 Abdication.

Members are undoubtedly working hard in difficult circumstances, but with ageing members such as the Duke of Kent, Princess Alexandra and the Duke of Gloucester now semi-retired, the institution looks and feels less solid.

In fairness, the Covid lockdowns, which put paid to Royals meeting people on official visits, saw the House of Windsor act with unaccustomed speed to address the changing national mood.

During the pandemic, we have seen the Royals adapt quickly to the electronic world and, in so doing, have astutely found a way to make themselves more visible to many more people.

But the more high-profile the Windsor team becomes, the greater the scrutiny and the greater the chances for error.

Many believe that William’s apology in Jamaica for Britain’s slave-trading past was a colossal error, aimed at appeasing a nation unready and unwilling to be appeased.

All it did was to open an old wound and served no useful purpose beyond making British Royalty look weak.

For this, William can hardly take the blame personally – his speech will have been drafted with Foreign Office direction. But now back home, as he reflects on the events of the past few days, he may ask himself whether he and his family need better advice.

Because times are changing fast. In today’s social media age, where minority toxic views often out-shout the feelings of the majority, the concept of Monarchy is in danger of being viewed by younger generations as antiquated, unduly privileged and irrelevant.

In addition – for some observers at least – the danger to the Royal Family’s stability lies, not in dissent from far-flung countries, but from much nearer home.

For years, there have been concerns that Prince Charles, despite his lifetime of good works and cheerful patience while he awaits the top job, has an erratic side to his nature which threatens the necessary stability that has been the hallmark of his mother’s reign.

Charles has pledged that, once on the throne, he will no longer interfere in politics. The so-called ‘black-spider’ memos – handwritten notes he sent to Cabinet Ministers urging them into action on his pet concerns – will, we are told, cease and, as King, he will lay down his campaigning sword. But those who know Charles doubt it.

The big question is whether King Charles III will leave the institution of Monarchy in as strong a position as when he inherited it. Or will his innate bull-headedness provide more ammunition to the Monarchy’s critics?

Looking much further ahead, and the reign of King William V, it is to be hoped that such lessons will have been learned.

The fact is that William has, as far as we know, steered clear of political intervention, and wisely, too. From reluctant beginnings, we know he now treasures the prospect of kingship.

Most impressively, he and Kate have, month upon month and year upon year, become a glittering asset of which our nation, and the Commonwealth, can be proud. Pretty much, they have followed the path laid down by the Queen, rather than the one pioneered by Charles.

Also, William, aged 39, is untouched by the heavy burden of waiting in line which has so afflicted his father, allowing his judgment on occasion to meander.

After the bruising he received during last week’s Caribbean tour, William will surely take heed. And when he has more say about the direction the Monarchy is heading, after last week’s shambles, he should be heard.

Above all, the words of another man, a titan of the House of Windsor should be heeded.

As the world pays tribute to Prince Philip at his memorial service on Tuesday, we would do well to reflect on this great man’s sense of duty, patriotism, self-sacrifice, modesty and common sense – all virtues that will guarantee that our Monarchy endures.

Protests. PR disasters. But no end of tender touches… KATE MANSEY’s ringside seat on the Caribbean tour that rocked the Commonwealth

From the very start it was clear that this wouldn’t be an easy tour.

William had even come prepared, inviting a Jamaican-born Caribbean specialist, Major David Clarke, to join him on the week-long trip. 

Yet by its conclusion this weekend, the tour had been condemned by some – including the BBC – as not merely badly organised but ‘tone deaf’.

Things started to unravel even before we boarded the outbound Royal flight at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

Members of a small indigenous community in Belize were complaining that they hadn’t been consulted about the visit and didn’t want the Royals’ helicopter to land on their football field.

Jamming: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge play the drums during a visit to Trench Town museum, formerly Bob Marley’s house

Jamming: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge play the drums during a visit to Trench Town museum, formerly Bob Marley’s house

A vocal protest ensued, forcing the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to cancel a planned trip to the village of Indian Creek and select another site.

In normal times, there is feeling of clockwork efficiency to a Royal tour. But this trip was already tainted by uncertainty. Official briefings had been late taking place amid rumours that the schedule was proving tricky to finalise.

On Tuesday we saw a significantly larger protest outside the British High Commission in Jamaica as a group called for the Cambridges to make ‘apologies’ for the role the British Empire had played in slavery.

Protests are nothing new on Royal tours. They have been going on for decades. But today there is heightened sensitivity.

Last year Barbados ousted the Queen as its head of state. Now the current Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness says he wants a referendum on becoming a republic.

When they came to meet Mr Holness, William and Kate were left standing awkwardly as if they had been summoned to the headmaster’s office while he told them his country was ‘moving on’ from the British Monarchy. 

To their credit, they grinned and got on with the job.

Things would get worse. The couple arrived in Trench Town, a district of Jamaica’s capital Kingston, to thousands of cheering well-wishers.

But images of the Cambridges reaching through a wire fence to shake hands with impoverished children seemed to smack of a long-vanished past. 

No matter that the Jamaican-born England footballer Raheem Sterling had done the same thing just before the Royals arrived.

It was clear from being there on the ground that Trench Town had actually welcomed them with open arms. But it looked bad. The keyboard warriors on social media had no desire to put it into context. And the damage was done.

 

The BBC’s royal correspondent Jonny Dymond weighed in, saying the tour was ‘disorganised’ with ‘bad planning and bad execution’.

He referred to the photos that circulated afterwards as ‘defeat plucked from the jaws of victory’, writing in an online piece: ‘Palace staff must be wondering how the defining image of the Cambridges’ trip to the Caribbean was not the explosion of joy and pleasure that greeted the couple in downtown Kingston.

‘But instead, what looked to many as some sort of white-saviour parody, with Kate and William fleetingly making contact with the outstretched fingers of Jamaican children, pushing through a wire fence. 

It was a bad misstep for a couple who are surprisingly media-savvy.’

Harry and Meghan’s cheerleader Omid Scobie added to the pressure on Twitter, saying: ‘This tour was an opportunity to try to show the Monarchy can modernise… Instead, even the media royalists are writing how out of touch parts of the trip have come across.’

The Duke of Cambridge did his best. On their last night in Jamaica, William used a speech to tell of his ‘profound sorrow’ about slavery, condemning it as ‘abhorrent’. 

It was received with polite but muted applause. But to those demanding reparations, including some in the audience, it didn’t go far enough.

The heavens opened as the Royal couple took a sailing trip on Friday and, returning to port, they looked like drowned rats – probably an accurate picture of how they felt.

But William reacted once again, amending his Friday night speech in the Bahamas to include the lines: ‘We support with pride and respect your decisions about your future. Relationships evolve. Friendship endures.’ 

Then, last night, came his dramatic statement about the future of the Commonwealth.

The Cambridges certainly made the occasional mistake. Was it wise to bring a relatively inexperienced backroom team to this tour?

At one point, William’s press team let it be known they wanted to see the duke, as well as the duchess, on the front pages – which, for some, brought back memories of Prince Charles’s jealousy towards Diana.

This time, though, the request was said to be more of an attempt to take some pressure off Kate. And that rings true because throughout it all, there was one impressive constant – the way Kate and William worked together as a team.

So often we saw tender glances or reassuring touches. Just one look from Kate in Belize was enough to persuade William that he needed to get up and dance.

The past week emphasised how much the Cambridges have grown into their role.

As Kate, speaking to Bahamian schoolchildren, put it: ‘You have a wonderful proverb in your country. ‘When the moon is not full, the stars shine more brightly’.’

But this tour has also shown that the problems facing the Windsors are deep and wide ranging. They face an enormous task ahead.

 

Her Royal fryness! Kate and William visit a ‘fish fry’ in the Bahamas to sample local delicacies including aphrodisiac ‘conch pistol’ and embrace excited fans on the last day of their Caribbean tour

By Rebecca English, Royal Editor, Jonathan Rose and Lizzie May for MailOnline

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited a fish fry today with Kate, in a pink Rixo dress, trying local delicacy ‘conch pistol’ – said to have the same effect as viagra.

Kate held up the strip of flesh, which comes from the inside of the conch – and is commonly said to be the conch’s male genitalia – before putting it in her mouth to gain a round of applause from the crowds.

The Duchess said: ‘I’m a little bit more adventurous than William is.’ As the pair joked around, he said: ‘I can handle it.’ 

Their final stop on the island of Abaco saw The Duke and Duchess visit a Fish Fry – a quintessentially Bahamian culinary gathering place which is found on every island in The Bahamas.  

She added that she had already tried conch fritters but had yet to try conch salad. She then got hold of a knife and helped stall owner Jade ‘Kow’ Adderley, 39, who owns the ‘Kow Conch Stall’.

They were offered conch salad. William said: ‘Ladies first,’ before Kate tried it and said: ‘Delicious’.

Mr Adderley said: ‘She was a good helper. I’d like her to stay and help me at the stall.’

William then made an impromptu stop at a bar. He slapped the bar top and said: ‘This is my stop!’

William was offered a Gullywash – coconut juice with condensed milk. He seemed to enjoy it and joked: ‘You guys talk amongst yourself I’m staying here.’

They moved on to stalls by the beach where vendors were selling handbags and homemade honey.

While talking to stall owner Kimberly Roberts, 49, of Abaco Ceramics, William looked at the honey for sale in jars on the table then pointed to Kate and said: ‘Catherine has bees at home.’

They then tried some lobster salad at the Island Fusion streetfood stall before moving on to a walkabout to greet local people.

The Duke and Duchess shook hands with well wishers and spoke to people about the effects of the hurricane. William turned own the chance to hold a baby but agreed to pose next to it.

They also met Stephen Gardiner, a Bahamian 400m Olympic champion. 

It comes after they visited a church in the Bahamas that has been rebuilt after it was destroyed during Hurricane Dorian in 2019 as their Caribbean tour comes to a close. 

The couple also went to Abaco’s Memorial Wall to remember the many victims of the hurricane. The Duchess laid flowers and they paused for a moment’s silence.

John Pinder, an Abaco MP, told them the British were some of the first to arrive with aid in the immediate aftermath and that they would never forget it.

He added: ‘Abaconians far and wide look forward to a friendship with Great Britain for many, many, many years to come.’

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited a fish fry today with Kate, in a pink Rixo dress, trying local delicacy ‘conch pistol’ – said to have the same effect as viagra

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited a fish fry today with Kate, in a pink Rixo dress, trying local delicacy ‘conch pistol’ – said to have the same effect as viagra

She held up the strip of flesh, which comes from the inside of the conch and is commonly said to be the conch’s male genitalia, before putting it in her mouth to applause from the crowds 

The Duke and Duchess shook hands with well wishers and spoke to people about the effects of the hurricane. William turned own the chance to hold a baby but agreed to pose next to it

The Duke and Duchess shook hands with well wishers and spoke to people about the effects of the hurricane. William turned own the chance to hold a baby but agreed to pose next to it

The Duke and Duchess shook hands with well wishers and spoke to people about the effects of the hurricane. William turned own the chance to hold a baby but agreed to pose next to it

Kate said: ‘I’m a little bit more adventurous than William is.’ As the pair joked around, he said: ‘I can handle it’

Kate said: ‘I’m a little bit more adventurous than William is.’ As the pair joked around, he said: ‘I can handle it’ 

She added that she had already tried conch fritters but had yet to try conch salad. She then got hold of a knife and helped stall owner Jade ‘Kow’ Adderley, 39, who owns the ‘Kow Conch Stall’

She added that she had already tried conch fritters but had yet to try conch salad. She then got hold of a knife and helped stall owner Jade ‘Kow’ Adderley, 39, who owns the ‘Kow Conch Stall’ 

They were offered conch salad. William said: ‘Ladies first,’ before Kate tried it and said: ‘Delicious’

They were offered conch salad. William said: ‘Ladies first,’ before Kate tried it and said: ‘Delicious’

Mr Adderley said: ‘She was a good helper. I’d like her to stay and help me at the stall’

Mr Adderley said: ‘She was a good helper. I’d like her to stay and help me at the stall’

Kate appeared to enjoy the strip of flesh, which comes from the inside of the conch, as she smiled while eating it

Kate appeared to enjoy the strip of flesh, which comes from the inside of the conch, as she smiled while eating it

They then tried some lobster salad at the Island Fusion streetfood stall before moving on to a walkabout to greet local people

They then tried some lobster salad at the Island Fusion streetfood stall before moving on to a walkabout to greet local people 

They moved on to stalls by the beach where vendors were selling handbags and homemade honey

They moved on to stalls by the beach where vendors were selling handbags and homemade honey

William then made an impromptu stop at a bar. He slapped the bar top and said: ‘This is my stop!’

William then made an impromptu stop at a bar. He slapped the bar top and said: ‘This is my stop!’

William was offered a Gullywash – coconut juice with condensed milk. He seemed to enjoy it and joked: ‘You guys talk amongst yourself I’m staying here’

William was offered a Gullywash – coconut juice with condensed milk. He seemed to enjoy it and joked: ‘You guys talk amongst yourself I’m staying here’ 

The Duchess of Cambridge also cuts vegetables and prepared fish during a visit to a Fish Fry in Abaco

The Duchess of Cambridge also cuts vegetables and prepared fish during a visit to a Fish Fry in Abaco

Kate was all smiles as she used a large knife to chop up the sea snail flesh and create a conch salad

Kate was all smiles as she used a large knife to chop up the sea snail flesh and create a conch salad

William engaged with several locals including a little girl whose hand he held as she stood next to a seated elderly lady

William engaged with several locals including a little girl whose hand he held as she stood next to a seated elderly lady

Kate held hands with an elderly lady and a young while kneeling down near metal barriers

Kate held hands with an elderly lady and a young while kneeling down near metal barriers

Kate beamed as she posed up a storm smiling with countless locals for photos, including a number of small children

Kate beamed as she posed up a storm smiling with countless locals for photos, including a number of small children 

Children hold signs saying 'Will' and 'Kate' as well wishers line the streets of Great Abaco in The Bahamas

Children hold signs saying ‘Will’ and ‘Kate’ as well wishers line the streets of Great Abaco in The Bahamas

Kate crouched down and spoke to a local girl who was dressed to the nines in a stunning princess outfit

Kate crouched down and spoke to a local girl who was dressed to the nines in a stunning princess outfit

One local girl allowed Kate to have a look at the photo she had taken with her Nikon camera

One local girl allowed Kate to have a look at the photo she had taken with her Nikon camera

They also met Stephen Gardiner, a Bahamian 400m Olympic champion

They also met Stephen Gardiner, a Bahamian 400m Olympic champion

Well wishers lined the streets, many waving the Bahamian flag, as they attempted to get a glimpse of William and Kate

Well wishers lined the streets, many waving the Bahamian flag, as they attempted to get a glimpse of William and Kate

The couple were all smiles as they left their hotel this morning on their way to the church Abaco – a chain of islands in the northern Bahamas which was dramatically hit by Hurricane Dorian with winds of up to 185mph and left devastation in its wake.

It damaged 75 per cent of homes across the chain of islands and resulted in tragic loss of life.

Prince William and Kate will travel to Abaco’s main island to learn about the impact of the hurricane and to see how communities are still being rebuilt more than two years on. 

It comes as Prince William delivered a speech in which he said he insisted that any decision by Jamaica, Belize and The Bahamas to break away from the British monarchy and become republics will be supported with ‘pride and respect’ in a landmark speech alongside his wife Kate at a glittering state reception.

Today, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the Daystar Evangelical Church which suffered terrible damage during Hurricane Dorian in 2019.

During their visit, on the final day of their Caribbean tour, they heard first-hand what it was like to be on the island at the point the hurricane hit, and how people have come together to support each other during an incredibly difficult time. 

The Cambridges then moved on to pay their respects to the victims of Hurricane Dorian by laying a wreath at Abaco’s Memorial Wall. 

Kate opted for a £254 pink midi gown by much-loved brand Rixo for the occasion, which featured a button-down collar and subtle animal print design.

She paired the shirt dress with a matching £370 clutch bag by Emmy London and £160 wedge heels by Spanish brand Castañer. 

In a speech last night, Prince William recalled holidaying in the Bahamas with his late mother Princess Diana in 1993, reminiscing on memories made in the vivid blue waters of Nassau in the Bahamas.

The Caribbean was a favourite holiday destination of Prince Diana, particularly after her separation from the Prince of Wales. (Pictured: Diana, far left, with William in the island of St Kitts in 1993)

The Caribbean was a favourite holiday destination of Prince Diana, particularly after her separation from the Prince of Wales. (Pictured: Diana, far left, with William in the island of St Kitts in 1993)

He remembered snorkelling around the ‘James Bond wrecks’ with mother Diana, describing it as the ‘best holiday ever’ – and it seems the pair are planning on returning with their three children.

The three-day trip to the picturesque nation of 700 islands has had such an effect on William and Kate that they have vowed to bring George, Charlotte and Louis back one day, MailOnline understands.

After spending the last two nights at The Cove luxury resort on Paradise Island, where they have been ensconced in the three-bedroom 4830ft Penthouse Suite with floor-to-ceiling windows and wrap-around ocean views, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been FaceTiming their children to share the experience, a source said.  

Relaxed and chatty, the couple were overheard thanking staff for everything they had done for them, telling them the hotel was ‘wonderful’, the food ‘amazing’ and that they ‘couldn’t wait to come back with their children’.

‘They said they have FaceTimed their children to show them the views, which blew them away, and that they can’t wait to come back with them,’ a source said. 

‘Hopefully William will be able to created the same happy memories with his family, that his own mother did with him’.

The Caribbean was a favourite holiday destination of Prince Diana, particularly after her separation from the Prince of Wales.

She would often take William there with his brother, Harry, and almost 30 years ago she whisked them to the five-bedroom Casuarina Beach in the Bahamas.

Situated in Lyford Cay, a gated community on the western tip of New Providence Island, they stayed as guests of Kate Menzies of the newsagent millionaire Menzies family, and accompanied by Andrew Charlton, a lifelong friend of Prince William, and Catherine and Harry Soames, the family of politician Nicholas Soames.

The group flew to the Bahamas from Florida, where they had spent two days at Walt Disney World and visited the set location for ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.’

Lyford Cay is one of the Bahamas’ most exclusive communities, with neighbours including Sean Connery and the Bacardi family.

The Duke of Cambridge played a madcap game of football with a group of young boys from the Grand Bahama Children’s Home as his Caribbean tour drew to a close.

William took a shine to a 13-year-old who used a wheelchair, and when he asked the boy what he wanted to do the youngster replied, ‘play soccer’ and they head towards two goals.

The future king was visiting the centre with wife Kate to meet the youngsters in the home’s extensive garden and learn about their lives.

The duke and his new found friend were quickly joined by other small boys and at one stage there were four footballs on the pitch whizzing around with William in goal.

Next on the 13-year-old’s list was a nearby swing and slide and he was pushed by the duke in their direction – William later quipped ‘He knows that’ll say yes.’

As the 13-year-old and two other boys swing up in the air a concern duke smiled but said: ‘These swings are very high guys, please don’t fall off.’

The Grand Bahama Children’s Home provides a loving home environment to vulnerable children who are not able to live with their families.

Since it was established in 1977 by the local community, the home has cared for over 900 children and now looks after around 30 children ranging from one to seventeen.

When the Cambridges first arrived they sat at large table covered in a colourful mosaic design, and with some of the younger children filled in the final pieces.

Kate asked one little girl dressed in a pink tutu and tiara ‘Is that going to fit in?’ and said ‘yes’ as the youngster slotted the piece of ceramic home, adding: ‘You look very lovely I love your tiara’.

They also unveiled a plaque outside the entrance of The Grand Bahamas Children’s Home.

Prince William and Duchess Kate met children during a visit to the Grand Bahama Children's Home which provides a loving home environment to vulnerable children who are not able to live with their families, in Freeport, Bahamas

Prince William and Duchess Kate met children during a visit to the Grand Bahama Children’s Home which provides a loving home environment to vulnerable children who are not able to live with their families, in Freeport, Bahamas

When the Cambridges first arrived they sat at large table covered in a colourful mosaic design, and with some of the younger children filled in the final pieces

When the Cambridges first arrived they sat at large table covered in a colourful mosaic design, and with some of the younger children filled in the final pieces 

Prince William pushed the swings for children at the Grand Bahama Children's Home

Prince William pushed the swings for children at the Grand Bahama Children’s Home

Located on the island of Grand Bahama, the children's home was established in 1977 by the local community and has cared for over 900 children in the past 45 years (Prince William pushing the swings at the home)

Located on the island of Grand Bahama, the children’s home was established in 1977 by the local community and has cared for over 900 children in the past 45 years (Prince William pushing the swings at the home)

The Prince watched on as children played on the swing set playground at the children's home in Freeport, Bahamas

The Prince watched on as children played on the swing set playground at the children’s home in Freeport, Bahamas

The Duke and Duchess spent time with the children and heard from staff (pictured) about how they provide a safe and secure environment which gives vital support to vulnerable children on the island

The Duke and Duchess spent time with the children and heard from staff (pictured) about how they provide a safe and secure environment which gives vital support to vulnerable children on the island

William took a shine to a 13-year-old who used a wheelchair, and when he asked the boy what he wanted to do the youngster replied, 'play soccer' and they head towards two goals

William took a shine to a 13-year-old who used a wheelchair, and when he asked the boy what he wanted to do the youngster replied, ‘play soccer’ and they head towards two goals

The future king was visiting the centre with wife Kate to meet the youngsters in the home’s extensive garden and learn about their lives

The future king was visiting the centre with wife Kate to meet the youngsters in the home’s extensive garden and learn about their lives

The duke and his new found friend were quickly joined by other small boys and at one stage there were four footballs on the pitch whizzing around with William in goal

Prince William pictured playing football with some of the children

The duke and his new found friend were quickly joined by other small boys and at one stage there were four footballs on the pitch whizzing around with William in goal 

Kate asked one little girl dressed in a pink tutu and tiara 'Is that going to fit in?' and said 'yes' as the youngster slotted the piece of ceramic home, adding: 'You look very lovely I love your tiara'

Kate asked one little girl dressed in a pink tutu and tiara ‘Is that going to fit in?’ and said ‘yes’ as the youngster slotted the piece of ceramic home, adding: ‘You look very lovely I love your tiara’

The Grand Bahama Children’s Home provides a loving home environment to vulnerable children who are not able to live with their families

Kate pictured interacting with a young child

The Grand Bahama Children’s Home provides a loving home environment to vulnerable children who are not able to live with their families. Since it was established in 1977 by the local community, the home has cared for over 900 children and now looks after around 30 children ranging from one to seventeen. Kate pictured interacting with a young child

The Duchess of Cambridge interacts with a child during a visit to Grand Bahama Children's Home, on day eight of their tour of the Caribbean on behalf of the Queen to mark her Platinum Jubilee

The Duchess of Cambridge interacts with a child during a visit to Grand Bahama Children’s Home, on day eight of their tour of the Caribbean on behalf of the Queen to mark her Platinum Jubilee

Kate and William looked relaxed in as they walked to the Fish Fry, a quintessentially Bahamian culinary gathering place

Kate and William looked relaxed in as they walked to the Fish Fry, a quintessentially Bahamian culinary gathering place

Kate opted for a £254 pink midi gown by much-loved brand Rixo for the occasion, which featured a button-down collar and subtle animal print design

She paired the shirt dress with a matching £370 clutch bag by Emmy London and £160 wedge heels by Spanish brand Castañer

Kate opted for a £254 pink midi gown by much-loved brand Rixo for the occasion, which featured a button-down collar and subtle animal print design. She paired the shirt dress with a matching £370 clutch bag by Emmy London and £160 wedge heels by Spanish brand Castañer

Kate picks a flower and hands it to a young boy as she speaks with children during a visit to Great Abaco, Bahamas, to remember the victims of Hurricane Dorian 

The Duke also got to show off his parental touch as he gives a high-five to a young boy as the royals mingled with those who had gathered to greet them

The Duke also got to show off his parental touch as he gives a high-five to a young boy as the royals mingled with those who had gathered to greet them

The Duke and Duchess stand over the Abaco Memorial Wall as they pay tribute to the victims of Hurricane Dorian which ripped through the island with 185mph winds

The Duke and Duchess stand over the Abaco Memorial Wall as they pay tribute to the victims of Hurricane Dorian which ripped through the island with 185mph winds

Pictured: Kate delicately lays a wreath at the foot of the Abaco Memorial Wall as William watches on

Pictured: Kate delicately lays a wreath at the foot of the Abaco Memorial Wall as William watches on

Kate carried a beautiful wreath before placing it at the foot of the Abaco Memorial Wall

Kate carried a beautiful wreath before placing it at the foot of the Abaco Memorial Wall

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrive at Abaco's Memorial Wall on Saturday

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrive at Abaco’s Memorial Wall on Saturday

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are warmly greeted by officials as they arrived at Daystar Evangelical Church in the Bahamas

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are warmly greeted by officials as they arrived at Daystar Evangelical Church in the Bahamas

The Cambridges were shown around the area by church leaders. Hurrican Dorian's 185mph winds ripped through Great Abaco in 2019, damaging three quarters of the homes in the area

The Cambridges were shown around the area by church leaders. Hurrican Dorian’s 185mph winds ripped through Great Abaco in 2019, damaging three quarters of the homes in the area

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to Daystar Evangelical Church Abaco in The Bahamas, to learn about the impact of Hurricane Dorian in 2019. Pictured with one of the church leaders

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to Daystar Evangelical Church Abaco in The Bahamas, to learn about the impact of Hurricane Dorian in 2019. Pictured with one of the church leaders

The Duke of Cambridge speaks to locals in Abaco, which was dramatically hit by Hurricane Dorian which saw winds of up to 185mph and left devastation in its wake

The Duke of Cambridge speaks to locals in Abaco, which was dramatically hit by Hurricane Dorian which saw winds of up to 185mph and left devastation in its wake

Pastor Mills pointed to the place where one of the church’s historic buildings had once stood, explaining how it been completely destroyed.

‘We had three buildings on this property that survived many, many hurricanes going back to hurricane Betsy of 1965, Hurricane Floyd of 1999,’ he said ahead of the royals’ arrival.

‘But the facility was no match for hurricane Dorian. It was a Category Five monster storm that had waves crashing the roof of this building. The water was very much up to the ceiling in here.

‘It washed everything out and it just destroyed so much history that was here. The building that was here was built in 1952. It was a wooden building built out of Abaco pine, and we kept it here and remodelled it to maintain its historic values, but Dorian swept it off its foundation.’

Residents were locked down for months, he said, and the NGOs could not get in because of flooding, and later, the pandemic, severely delaying recovery efforts.

PastorMills said some members of the community remained displaced, two-and-a-half years later.

‘It’s been difficult,’ he added. ‘And some people have been traumatised to the extent that they’re still seeing doctors.’

The church building remains unusable, with windows still blown out and chunks of concrete wall missing.

Pastor Mills said they did not have the insurance needed to rebuild and that the focus has been on helping those who had lost their homes.

They are now looking to donors to rebuild the church so it can be used by the community.

Pastor Mills said it still ‘felt like a dream’ to have the Duke and Duchess visit.

‘The fact that they would want to come to a place that provides spiritual guidance and a place where people come to pray speaks volumes of their concern for humanity,’ he said.

Among those who met the royal couple were Ian Fair 74, a private banker from Somerset, and his partner Deborah Jones-holt 49, from Yorkshire.

Mr Fair, a founding chairman of the Bahamian stock exchange, came to the Bahamas in 1969 on a two year work contract and never left.

He presented the church with a $15,000 donation that will be used to refurbish the inside.

Mr Fair, whose two sons-in-law were on Abaco when the hurricane hit, said he believed it had set the island back 25 years.

Pastor Mills pointed to the place where one of the church’s historic buildings had once stood, explaining how it been completely destroyed

Pastor Mills pointed to the place where one of the church’s historic buildings had once stood, explaining how it been completely destroyed

'We had three buildings on this property that survived many, many hurricanes going back to hurricane Betsy of 1965, Hurricane Floyd of 1999,' he said ahead of the royals’ arrival'

‘We had three buildings on this property that survived many, many hurricanes going back to hurricane Betsy of 1965, Hurricane Floyd of 1999,’ he said ahead of the royals’ arrival’

'But the facility was no match for hurricane Dorian. It was a Category Five monster storm that had waves crashing the roof of this building. The water was very much up to the ceiling in here'

‘But the facility was no match for hurricane Dorian. It was a Category Five monster storm that had waves crashing the roof of this building. The water was very much up to the ceiling in here’

'It washed everything out and it just destroyed so much history that was here. The building that was here was built in 1952. It was a wooden building built out of Abaco pine, and we kept it here and remodelled it to maintain its historic values, but Dorian swept it off its foundation'

‘It washed everything out and it just destroyed so much history that was here. The building that was here was built in 1952. It was a wooden building built out of Abaco pine, and we kept it here and remodelled it to maintain its historic values, but Dorian swept it off its foundation’

Residents were locked down for months, he said, and the NGOs could not get in because of flooding, and later, the pandemic, severely delaying recovery efforts

Residents were locked down for months, he said, and the NGOs could not get in because of flooding, and later, the pandemic, severely delaying recovery efforts

PastorMills said some members of the community remained displaced, two-and-a-half years later

PastorMills said some members of the community remained displaced, two-and-a-half years later

'It's been difficult,' he added. 'And some people have been traumatised to the extent that they're still seeing doctors'

‘It’s been difficult,’ he added. ‘And some people have been traumatised to the extent that they’re still seeing doctors’

The pair will learn about the impact of the hurricane and to see how communities are still being rebuilt more than two years on

Kate cut a radiant figure in her all-pink matching ensemble as she arrived in Great Abaco on Saturday morning

The duchess opted for a £254 pink midi gown by much-loved brand Rixo for the occasion, which featured a button-down collar and subtle animal print design

Kate cut a radiant figure in her all-pink matching ensemble as she arrived in Great Abaco on Saturday morning

She paired the shirt dress with a matching £370 clutch bag by Emmy London and £160 wedge heels by Spanish brand Castañer

She paired the shirt dress with a matching £370 clutch bag by Emmy London and £160 wedge heels by Spanish brand Castañer

Pictured: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting a church in the Bahamas that has been rebuilt after it was destroyed during Hurricane Dorian in 2019 as their Caribbean tour comes to a close

Pictured: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting a church in the Bahamas that has been rebuilt after it was destroyed during Hurricane Dorian in 2019 as their Caribbean tour comes to a close

During their visit, on the final day of their Caribbean tour, they will hear first-hand what it was like to be on the island at the point the hurricane hit, and how people have come together to support each other during an incredibly difficult time

 During their visit, on the final day of their Caribbean tour, they will hear first-hand what it was like to be on the island at the point the hurricane hit, and how people have come together to support each other during an incredibly difficult time

Prince William and Kate shake hands with officials as the final leg of their Caribbean tour gets underway on Saturday

Prince William and Kate shake hands with officials as the final leg of their Caribbean tour gets underway on Saturday

Prince William and Kate will travel to Abaco’s main island to learn about the impact of Hurricane Dorian in 2019

Prince William and Kate will travel to Abaco’s main island to learn about the impact of Hurricane Dorian in 2019

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shake hands with officials as they arrive on Abaco's main island for their final day

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shake hands with officials as they arrive on Abaco’s main island for their final day 

The couple listen on as religious leaders and local officials reveal the devastating toll of Hurricane Dorian in 2019

The couple listen on as religious leaders and local officials reveal the devastating toll of Hurricane Dorian in 2019

Kate

Kate

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting communities in Abaco to see how they have been rebuilt two years on. Pictured: Kate Middleton at Daystar Evangelical Church

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting Belize, Jamaica and The Bahamas on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen on the occasion of the Platinum Jubilee. Their eight-day trip marks their first joint official overseas tour since the onset of COVID-19

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting Belize, Jamaica and The Bahamas on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen on the occasion of the Platinum Jubilee. Their eight-day trip marks their first joint official overseas tour since the onset of COVID-19

The Cambridges are a picture of sombre concentration as they hear about the devastation of Hurricane Dorian in 2019

The Cambridges are a picture of sombre concentration as they hear about the devastation of Hurricane Dorian in 2019

Large crowds had gathered long in advance to get a sneak peek at the Cambridges before they arrived in Great Abaco

The pair are at Daystar Evangelical Church to hear first-hand what it was like to be on the island at the point the hurricane hit, and how people have come together to support each other during an incredibly difficult time

Large crowds had gathered long in advance to get a sneak peek at the Cambridges before they arrived in Great Abaco

Kate is pictured arriving at Daystar Evangelical Church where she will hear about the devastation wrought by the 185mph winds of Hurricane Dorian on the island

The Duchess of Cambridge cut a graceful figure in a pastel pink midi dress this afternoon as she visited a church on the final day of her week-long Caribbean tour

The Duchess of Cambridge cut a graceful figure in a pastel pink midi dress this afternoon as she visited a church on the final day of her week-long Caribbean tour

Once again keeping her look simple, Kate opted for minimal jewellery, and wore her sleek brown tresses in loose waves

Once again keeping her look simple, Kate opted for minimal jewellery, and wore her sleek brown tresses in loose waves

Their Caribbean trip marks the first official royal overseas engagement by the Cambridges since the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020

Their Caribbean trip marks the first official royal overseas engagement by the Cambridges since the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020

The Cambridges are hearing the first-hand experiences of clergy leaders and locals who lived through Hurricane Dorian

The Cambridges are hearing the first-hand experiences of clergy leaders and locals who lived through Hurricane Dorian

Prince William and Kate peer out of the window of the destroyed Daystar Evangelical Church as they tour the Bahamas on the last leg of their Caribbean tour

Prince William and Kate peer out of the window of the destroyed Daystar Evangelical Church as they tour the Bahamas on the last leg of their Caribbean tour

Pictured is the damaged Daystar Evangelical Church prior to the arrival of Prince William, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Pictured is the damaged Daystar Evangelical Church prior to the arrival of Prince William, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Pictured: An officer of the Royal Bahamas Police Force stands guard outside the rebuilt Daystar Evangelical Church

Pictured: An officer of the Royal Bahamas Police Force stands guard outside the rebuilt Daystar Evangelical Church

Yesterday, Prince William and Kate greeted crowds and local fishermen as they walked along Montagu Bay in New Providence on the final stop of their Caribbean tour to mark the Queen‘s Platinum Jubilee

The sailing regattas in The Bahamas is one of the first that has taken place since the start of the Covid pandemic and both William and Kate pitched in as they raced each other in separate yachts. 

In a video shared on their Instagram, the couple thanked the teams for their hospitality and for enduring the poor weather.

In the choppy waters, the duke sailed to victory in a race against Kate today during a rain-affected regatta in The Bahamas to celebrate the Queen’s jubilee. 

William set sail in an iconic Bahamian sloop named the Susan Chase, whilst Kate boarded a vessel named the Ants Nest II. She also sported a white cap once she was on board with her crew mates that had the boat’s name on in red writing.   

His boat came in about five minutes ahead of four others including one featuring the Duchess of Cambridge, who suffered the ignominy of coming in last with her crew.

It was a second consecutive victory for William, who beat his wife in the King’s Cup charity regatta off the Isle of Wight in 2019 when they last raced on the water. On that occasion her boat was disqualified. 

Kate triumphed when the ultra competitive couple raced yachts in New Zealand in 2014.

Earlier, Kate was pictured holding a newborn baby during a royal walkabout with Prince William as the couple continued their protest-hit tour of the Caribbean with a visit to a school in the Bahamas amid torrential downpours.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge revealed their competitive side during a boat race as they took park in 'a very special regatta' in the Bahamas ahead of their final day in the Caribbean. Pictured: Kate gets stuck in despite the rainy weather

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge revealed their competitive side during a boat race as they took park in ‘a very special regatta’ in the Bahamas ahead of their final day in the Caribbean. Pictured: Kate gets stuck in despite the rainy weather

William set sail in an iconic Bahamian sloop named the Susan Chase, whilst Kate boarded a vessel named the Ants Nest II

William set sail in an iconic Bahamian sloop named the Susan Chase, whilst Kate boarded a vessel named the Ants Nest II

William and Kate wave to excited crowds as they attend The Bahamas Platinum Jubilee Sailing Regatta at Montagu Bay

William and Kate wave to excited crowds as they attend The Bahamas Platinum Jubilee Sailing Regatta at Montagu Bay

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their way to attend The Bahamas Platinum Jubilee Sailing Regatta at Montagu Bay

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their way to attend The Bahamas Platinum Jubilee Sailing Regatta at Montagu Bay

Safety first: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge don life jackets during the regatta in the Bahamas yesterday afternoon

Safety first: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge don life jackets during the regatta in the Bahamas yesterday afternoon

Kate sported a white cap once she was on board with her crew mates that had the boat's name on in red writing

Kate sported a white cap once she was on board with her crew mates that had the boat’s name on in red writing

Kate Middleton was in hysterics with crew members, as they all wore hats of the vessel's name Ants Nest II

Kate Middleton was in hysterics with crew members, as they all wore hats of the vessel’s name Ants Nest II

The royal couple greeted crowds who gathered in Parliament Square before attending the colourful Junkanoo Carnival in Nassau to celebrate the monarch’s Platinum Jubilee alongside the Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Philip Davis, and his wife Ann-Marie.

Kate was pictured speaking to a mother in the crowd and cradling her baby’s head before the iconic street parade, which featured locals wearing colourful costumes and dancing to music. 

It comes as Prince William signalled that any decision by Jamaica, Belize and The Bahamas to break away from the British monarchy and become republics will be supported with ‘pride and respect’ in a landmark speech alongside his wife Kate at a glittering state reception.

On the sixth day of their tour of the Caribbean yesterday, the future king said the Royal Family ‘respect the decisions’ of countries like The Bahamas, Jamaica and Belize when it comes to their future in a nod to the critical ‘colonialism’ commentary and protests that accompanied welcoming crowds.

Since beginning their tour to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the Cambridges were greeted like rock stars by the public – but politicians, including the prime minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness, used meetings to make clear in public they will push for the island to be a republic with a referendum this year.

Critical royal observers led by by Meghan’s cheerleader-in-chief Omid Scobie and BBC royal correspondent Jonny Dymond made claims of a series of ‘tone deaf’ PR moments that smacked of ‘colonialism’ – leading to more social media criticism despite the couple’s warm welcome on the ground.

The royal couple have attended a reception hosted by the Governor-General during which they will have the opportunity to meet community leaders and notable people from across The Bahamas’ many islands

The royal couple have attended a reception hosted by the Governor-General during which they will have the opportunity to meet community leaders and notable people from across The Bahamas’ many islands

Speaking at the black-tie reception hosted by the Governor General of the Bahamas, Sir Cornelius Alvin Smith, William said: ‘Next year, I know you are all looking forward to celebrating fifty years of independence – your Golden Anniversary.

‘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.

‘Relationships evolve. Friendship endures.’

At the evening reception, the Duchess of Cambridge stepped out in a stunning Grace-Kelly style gown that looked worlds away from this afternoon’s wet yachting regatta.

They received one of the warmest welcomes of their tour as they mingled with eminent Bahamians from the fields of culture, law, religion, business, medicine and politics.

Before they left William and Kate were presented with a model of a sloop sailing boat similar to the one they sailed on earlier in the day.

The roses on the dress of guest Mildred Murphy caught Kate’s eye and she complimented her. ‘She said I looked amazing and I said the roses were for the flower of England. She said she loved visiting the school today and said how well the children behaved and how nice it was for her to have that experience.’ 

Wills: ‘I may never head the Commonwealth’ SourceWills: ‘I may never head the Commonwealth’

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