Duke and Duchess of Cambridge awed during tour of Belize's ancient Mayan wonders

ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship reports on the Duke and Duchess's of Cambridge visit to the archaeological jewel of Belize

When you first look up at the ancient sky palace of Caracol hidden deep in the jungle of western Belize, you get a similar sense of wonder as when you first set eyes on the Great Pyramids of Egypt.

But very few people get to see this fascinating structure, as Prince William and Kate did today on the second full day of their royal tour to Belize.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge climb the Caana at Caracol, an ancient Mayan archaeological site. Credit: PA

Caracol is at the end of a two-hour ride down the most uneven of tracks which cut their way through the steep terrain of the Mayan Mountains.

On a good day, only a few dozen determined tourists will make it along this road and yet it’s a sight which could easily be a stop on this planet’s most popular tourist routes.

Despite being more than 3,000 years old, the Mayan ruins of Caracol is still the largest man-made structure in Belize. Credit: PA

After being told that this ancient city dates back to 1,200 years before Christ – the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge climbed the giant stone steps to the very top – where the views extend across the interior of Belize in one direction and into neighbouring Guatemala in the other.

Despite being 3,000 years old and built before the advent of any modern tools, Caracol’s sky palace remains the tallest man-made structure in Belize to this day.

All the more remarkable to think that it remained hidden beneath the dense trees of this jungle until 1937 when an explorer for a logging company noticed some unusually tall shapes on the land.

At one time, this city was home to a staggering 150,000 Maya people with 60 kilometres of roads and causeways stretching out from the centre.

Some of the buildings at Caracol are thousands of years old Credit: PA

But this ancient civilisation in this ancient city was eventually wiped out, in part because they over-farmed, and over-used the resources upon which their very survival depended.

Had Prince William’s father been here, Prince Charles might have remarked how that could be a lesson to those of us who share Planet Earth today, given how humans are depleting its natural resources right now, being it deforestation or over-fishing.

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There is a calm which descends on you when you reach the top of this temple on a high plateau 500 metres above sea level and marvel at those who built it so many centuries ago.

And given the Queen remains the Head of State of this small country in Central America, here was William - a Prince of Belize - looking out across land over which his grandmother still reigns. 

How long that constitutional arrangement will last depends on the will of the 400,000 people of Belize. 

But if that doesn’t change, William and Kate might one day be King and Queen of Belize. 

If so, this future Monarch, is unlikely to forget the day he first saw this ancient archaeological wonder.