William and Kate face protests as they arrive in Jamaica

ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship reports on the significance of the protests in Jamaica and the shifting relationship between the monarchy and many people living in Caribbean countries

A protest about Britain’s ties to Jamaica has been staged just before Prince William and Kate touched down in the country.

Jamaica – a Commonwealth Realm where the Queen remains the Head of State – is in the middle of a lively debate about whether to sever ties with the British Crown 60 years after the former colony gained its independence.

Last year, another former colony Barbados transitioned from a Realm to a republic, as it started a new constitutional chapter.

Several dozen protesters congregated outside the British High Commission in the capital Kingston holding placards which read: "Kings, queens, princes and Princesses belong in fairytales, not in Jamaica".

Credit: Advocates Network/{A

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge landed in Jamaica, the second country on this week’s tour on behalf of the Queen to mark her Platinum Jubilee.

Jamaica gained independence from Britain on 6 August 1962 but chose to keep the Queen as Sovereign.

William and Kate arrived on Tuesday afternoon on board the RAF Voyager which they are using for this trip and went straight from the airport to meet Jamaica’s Governor-General, Sir Patrick Allen, who is the Queen’s representative in the country.

The Royal Rota: Listen now

The protesters here have also called for Britain to address the issue of reparations to compensate Jamaica for the exploitation and financial gains from the slave trade.

Britain seized this Caribbean island from the Spanish in 1655 and started a plantation economy based on sugar and cocoa – farms on which slaves from West Africa were forced to work.

Slavery was not abolished until 1834.

Royal sources say Prince William and Kate are acutely aware of the debate raging in Jamaica about the dark chapter of Britain’s history, and William will condemn the abhorrence of slavery when he speaks here on Wednesday.

His father, Prince Charles, has previously called it a “stain” on Britain’s past.

But William won’t address any specific claims that his ancestors in the Royal Family gained personally from the slave trade.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attending the Festival of Garifuna Culture in Hopkins, a small village in Belize. Credit: PA

As for the issue of whether Jamaica will follow Barbados in becoming a republic, royal aides always say that is a matter for the people here.

But for now, they remain a Prince and Princess of Jamaica, and the Cambridges will continue this week long, three-country tour on behalf of his grandmother.

They are unlikely to miss the protests – as they might well follow the Duke and Duchess around this island over the next two days.