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Inside William and Kate’s Caribbean tour blunders that ‘damaged royal brand’


Royal tours are meant to go off without a hitch, but Prince William and Kate Middleton ‘s Caribbean trip has been littered with PR blunders.

Image and optics for the royal family are paramount and this trip hasn’t looked good.

Instead, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are making headlines for their missteps.

The tour’s defining image may be William and Kate greeting children through a metal fence in Jamaica as the youngsters’ arms stretch through the wire.

Another picture that raised eyebrows was of the couple dressed in costume, waving from the back of an open top Land Rover.

The brand of the monarchy – and William and Kate’s reputation – has been severely wounded, writes the Mirror’s royal editor, who has been following the couple on their trip.

Here, Russell Myers of the Mirror reports from the royal Caribbean tour.



KINGSTON, JAMAICA – MARCH 22: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge shake hands with children during a visit to Trench Town, the birthplace of reggae music, on day four of the Platinum Jubilee Royal Tour of the Caribbean on March 22, 2022 in Kingston, Jamaica. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting Belize, Jamaica, and The Bahamas on their week-long tour. (Photo by Chris Jackson-Pool/Getty Images)
William and Kate’s blunders on the royal Caribbean tour have been making headlines



KINGSTON, JAMAICA – MARCH 22: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge shakes hands with children during a visit to Trench Town, the birthplace of reggae music, on day four of the Platinum Jubilee Royal Tour of the Caribbean on March 22, 2022 in Kingston, Jamaica. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting Belize, Jamaica, and The Bahamas on their week-long tour. (Photo by Chris Jackson-Pool/Getty Images)
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge shaking hands with children through a fence in Trench Town, Jamaica

Lauded for being the fresh faces of the monarchy in an ­ever-changing world, William and Kate may look back on this week as a time that shaped their future more than any.

As the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge embarked on their first major tour since the start of the pandemic, they were faced with the harsh reality that the world is a very different place from our pre-Covid memories.

George Floyd’s murder at the hands of a white oppressor has made all ­institutions ask questions of themselves, and in a world dominated by images and optics, the standout instances on this trip could not have been more wrong.

Indeed it seems a jolly trip down memory lane was the foundation for this quite often haphazardly organised ode to a bygone era.

The excitement that normally accompanies one of these trips was swiftly replaced with intense nervousness.



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A series of PR blunders that should have been easily navigated has left the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s ­reputation severely wounded.

As the heavens opened in Nassau, it could have been an ­unfortunate metaphor for the dark cloud that hung over the tour.

But back to doing what they do best, William and Kate spoke from the heart to key workers who had battled through the pandemic.

And they partook in a traditional ­walkabout outside the senate building, with Kate delighting the crowd by cooing at a baby and shimmying to a drum band.

But it is other images that have ­dominated – such as shaking hands with children through metal fences and riding around in an open top Land Rover – that will have caused potentially ­irreparable damage to brand royal, certainly in a region where anti-monarchy ­sentiment is growing.



KINGSTON, JAMAICA – MARCH 24: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge smile as they attend the inaugural Commissioning Parade for service personnel from across the Caribbean who have recently completed the Caribbean Military Academy’s Officer Training Programme, at the Jamaica Defence Force on day six of the Platinum Jubilee Royal Tour of the Caribbean on March 24, 2022 in Kingston, Jamaica. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting Belize, Jamaica, and The Bahamas on their week-long tour. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Kate and William in the same Land Rover the Queen previously rode



File photo dated 25/11/1953 of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh drive down the lines of 20,000 youngsters drawn up to greet them in Sabina Park, Kingston, during their visit to Jamaica. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge used the same Land Rover while attending the inaugural Commissioning Parade for service personnel from across the Caribbean who have recently completed the Caribbean Military Academy's Officer Training Programme, in Kingston, Jamaica, as part of their tour pf the Caribbean. Issue date: Thursday March 24, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh visiting Kingston, Jamaica in 1953

In part, William and Kate were not to blame.

Instead they were left to fend for themselves by others lacking the ­experience and foresight to see obvious pitfalls of operating in such an environment that requires added sensitivity.

On the flip side, surely the Cambridges have the experience to be more aware?

The future king and queen themselves looked uncomfortable at times.

We know their strength is in their warmth and ­authenticity but this tour really did make them look like puffed-up royalty that went out of fashion in the 1960s.



KINGSTON, JAMAICA - MARCH 24: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge smile as they attend the inaugural Commissioning Parade for service personnel from across the Caribbean who have recently completed the Caribbean Military Academy’s Officer Training Programme, at the Jamaica Defence Force on day six of the Platinum Jubilee Royal Tour of the Caribbean on March 24, 2022 in Kingston, Jamaica. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting Belize, Jamaica, and The Bahamas on their week-long tour. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
This tour made William and Kate look like puffed-up royalty that went out of fashion in the 1960s, writes Russell Myers

A worrying tone was set when a day before they arrived in Belize to kick off the tour last Saturday, a protest emerged from an indigenous group.

Small in number but mighty in voice, locals railed against the couple for showing an apparent lack of respect after not being consulted and alleged demands to land a helicopter on a school field.

With placards carrying the message, “Prince William Leave Our Land”, it was the start nobody would have wished for. A hastily pushed-out local government notice that declared a misunderstanding, which had nothing to do with the future king and his wife, was not enough.

For their part William and Kate threw themselves into the engagements.



A woman holds up a protest sign as she awaits the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for an engagement meeting key workers who have been on the frontline of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic in the Bahamas, at the Garden of Remembrance, in Nassau, Bahamas, on day seven of their tour of the Caribbean on behalf of the Queen to mark her Platinum Jubilee. Picture date: Friday March 25, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story ROYAL Tour. Photo credit should read: Toby Melville/PA Wire
A protester in Bassau, Bahamas awaiting the arrival of the Duke and Duchess

The Duchess’s fashion on point, her beaming smile sufficient to move the agenda on.

Even William was lauded for graduating from his “dad dancing” days when he felt the Caribbean rhythm and ­genuinely seemed to enjoy boogying with locals on the white sands of Hopkins, dubbed “the happiest place in Belize”.

But things weren’t happy for long.

On the next stop in Jamaica the temperature was turned up a notch.

As their plane took to the air, angry campaigners on the ground shouted slogans of emancipation.

The island nation has made no secret of their intention to stage a ­referendum to end centuries of British rule. Barbados last November cemented its future by severing ties.



KINGSTON, JAMAICA - MARCH 22: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge play the drums during a visit to Trench Town Culture Yard Museum where Bob Marley used to live, on day four of the Platinum Jubilee Royal Tour of the Caribbean on March 22, 2022 in Kingston, Jamaica. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting Belize, Jamaica, and The Bahamas on their week-long tour. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
William and Kate playing drums during a visit Trench Town Culture Yard Museum where Bob Marley used to live

Then William and Kate’s stop in Trench Town, the birthplace of reggae legend Bob Marley, with exciting guest appearances from England footballer Raheem Sterling and the Olympic bobsleigh heroes, was plunged into a PR nightmare.

As they received pop stars’ welcome, 800 excited locals added to the febrile atmosphere.

But Kate and William’s decision to clasp the outstretched arms of Jamaican children, pushing through a wire fence, was a horror show.

The cropped images went round the world within hours, creating a storm of criticism with allegations of rancid undertones of Britain’s colonial past.

Despite moments later meeting and greeting dozens of locals delighted at their presence, the moment was lost.



(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 24, 2022 Prince William (2nd R) receives applause after delivering a speech, flanked by (from R) Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, and the wife of the Governor General Lady Allen, during a state dinner at Kings House hosted by the Governor General in Kingston, Jamaica. - Prince William's trip to the Caribbean was meant to help Commonwealth countries where his 95-year-old grandmother is also head of state celebrate her record-breaking 70 years on the throne. (Photo by Ricardo Makyn / AFP) (Photo by RICARDO MAKYN/AFP via Getty Images)
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness declared that Jamaica was “moving on” from British rule

Next up, an audience with Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who didn’t even allow them to sit down before he declared how Jamaica was “moving on” from British rule.

William and Kate had been ambushed, quite unfairly from a man in such office.

Their clenched jaws said it all.

Palace staff attempted to dampen the flames with news that William was to make a landmark speech on slavery – both he and Kate “aware” of the protests.

However, his big moment, where he spoke of his “profound sorrow” for the abhorrent slave trade, was widely savaged by campaigners.

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Calls of “tone deaf”, “pathetic” and “empty” words followed – an apology many had wished for severely lacking.

Before departing for The Bahamas, more calls for reparations came before a passing-out parade.

Quite how William, Kate and their entire team thought it would be a grand idea to hop onto the back of an open top Land Rover and be driven about by a black soldier, while wearing costume outfits, is staggering.

A tribute to the Queen apparently, driven in the same car she used in the 1960s when the whiff of empire hung in the air without much controversy.

But times have changed and as William and Kate will surely discover, scenes such as those witnessed are best viewed in a Netflix blockbuster.

‘We love them in The Bahamas’



NASSAU, BAHAMAS - MARCH 25: Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, watches traditional Bahamian Junkanoo performers celebrate and parade on the seventh day of her tour at Parliament Square on the seventh day of the tour of the Caribbean on March 25, 2022 in Nassau, Bahamas. 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. The 8 day tour takes place between Saturday 19th March and Saturday 26th March and is their first joint official overseas tour since the onset of COVID-19 in 2020. (Photo by Toby Melville - Pool / Getty Images)
The Duchess of Cambridge watching traditional Bahamian Junkanoo performers

William and Kate weathered a storm on their royal tour to lift the spirits of hundreds of locals and tourists who lined the streets to capture a glimpse of the royal couple.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge returned to an old faithful, a royal walkabout amid a colour explosion from a traditional Bahamian Junkanoo dance.

Kate held a baby and William jokingly apologised to a group of American tourists who lambasted him for making their plane circle for 20 minutes when he and Kate arrived into The Bahamas today on board the RAF Voyager.

Colette Gard, 47, from Nassau stood for four hours outside the Sennette building to greet the royal couple.



NASSAU, BAHAMAS - MARCH 25: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visit Sybil Strachan Primary School on day seven of the Platinum Jubilee Royal Tour of the Caribbean on March 25, 2022 in UNSPECIFIED, Bahamas. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
William and Kate got caught in the rain as they arrived for a visit to a school in Nassau, Bahamas

She said: “I love the fact they are here. Kate is such a princess, so glamorous and kind. William will be a great king.

“We love them in The Bahamas.”

Elaine Patterson, 39, from Kentucky said: “My mum will die when I tell her I met a princess. Kate is just a wonderful lady.”

After a 20 minute walkabout the royals watched a traditional street parade called a Junkanoo, which had not been held for two years due to the pandemic.

Kate was seen swaying her hips to the rhythmic beats as William toe tapped to the drums amid an explosion of colour on the senses.

Earlier in the day during a visit to a local school where Kate made a speech, William quipped: “We seem to have brought the weather with us.”

The duchess, who addressed an assembly at the Sybil Strachan Primary School in Nassau, added: “One of the hardest things that so many of us found about the pandemic was being separated from the people we love.

“We have rediscovered how important our families are, and just how important our friends are.

“I always think it is the simple things in life that bring the most joy: playing together, chatting to your friends at school, eating meals together, listening to each other’s stories.

“These are the things that bring us together and give meaning to our lives.”



NASSAU, BAHAMAS - MARCH 25: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge plants a tree during a visit of Sybil Strachan Primary School on March 25, 2022 in Nassau, Bahamas. 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. The 8 day tour takes place between Saturday 19th March and Saturday 26th March and is their first joint official overseas tour since the onset of COVID-19 in 2020. (Photo by Ian Vogler - Pool/WireImage)
Duchess Kate planting a tree during the royal tour at Sybil Strachan Primary School

Kate told the assembly: “The connections, the relationships and friendships that you make during school are so special. So please look after them, cherish them and take time for them. And be kind, understanding and loving to yourself and others.”

The duchess added: “We are so thrilled to be here in the Bahamas, a country that made us feel at home as soon as we set foot on its soil.

“If you are a child growing up in this country today it feels to me like you are very blessed indeed.

“The spectacular natural environment of the Bahamas is just one of those blessings – I only wish we were able to visit all of your 700 islands during our stay!”

She said: “Our three children, George, Charlotte and Louis, all love being by the sea, so I hope they will be able to experience your clear waters and beautiful beaches before too long.”





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