For the most part, Prince William and Kate Middleton’s royal tour of the Caribbean has gone smoothly without any major issues. The couple was warmly received almost everywhere they went. But a few minor incidents have critics accusing the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge of some bad optics.
The first spurs from an image of Will and Kate greeting Jamaican children through a chain-link fence. BBC noted how the photo looks like, “some sort of white-savior parody” with the posh royals awkwardly touching the outstretched fingers of the kids through the fence rather than greeting them in a more intimate manner.
“It was a bad misstep for a couple who are surprisingly media-savvy,” the publication noted.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only sour moment for the duke and duchess. There’s also a video clip of Kate stepping back as Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sport, Olivia Grange, tries to grab her hand and pull her close. Eventually, the duchess does allow herself to be touched, but critics insist the clip exemplifies the “us versus them” mentality that’s inherent to the royal family.
The hits kept coming for the royal pair, who went on the trip as a symbol of goodwill but wound up with several missteps. William and Kate rode in the same vintage Land Rover that Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh rode in during their visit in the 60s. However, rather than being seen as a nice homage to the past, viewers called it, “a clunky reminder of a more deferential time,” according to the BBC.
Prince William delivered a speech that laid bare the horrors of slavery. “I want to express my profound sorrow. Slavery was abhorrent. And it should never have happened,” he said during a dinner event at King’s House in Kingston, Jamaica.
This speech came after Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced his intention to make Jamaica a fully independent nation rather than staying connected to the British monarchy. For their part, William and Kate stood behind Holness smiling and nodding as he made the announcement.
Besides those couple of glaring missteps, the trip seemed to go rather well for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. But BBC notes how times have changed, and even the smallest inklings of racist behavior will be examined under a microscope. Especially for members of the royal family who are already being judged more harshly than everyone else thanks to their “colonialist” history.
“There is no longer the forgiveness there once was for the slightly tone-deaf moment,” BBC noted.
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