Prince William and Kate leave Jamaica after difficult couple of days on Royal tour

ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship rounds up the final day of Royal engagements in Jamaica

Prince William and Kate have left Jamaica after a difficult couple of days as their visit triggered renewed debates here about a number of difficult issues.

But they have also attempted to remind people of times when the relationship between the Monarchy and Britain’s former colonies was less contentious.

At a military parade before they departed for the next country – The Bahamas – the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge returned to the Land Rover which The Queen used on previous visits to this island.

William and Kate on the Land Rover was reminiscent of the Queen and Philip on a Land Rover. Credit: PA

Prince William, wearing the tropical dress of the Blues and Royals Regiment, stood with Kate on the back of the vintage Land Rover which the Queen and the Duke Edinburgh first used in 1966 and also on a visit in 1994.

Last night – the couple were also pictured walking down the staircase at Kings House – the official home of the Governor-General – also a recreation of a photograph from when the Queen and Prince Philip were here in 1953. 

Both are reminders of the long reign of Queen Elizabeth II – and William and Kate are officially here to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. 

But, in a country where debates are raging about the purpose of the Monarchy in 2022 and about Britain’s role in the slave trade – they can also serve as a reminder to the Royal Family detractors of Britain’s colonial past. 

And given what’s been happening in Jamaica over the last couple of days, that might not be the best impression to leave behind.

Jamaica celebrates 60 years of independence this year.

It broke away from the former colonial master in August 1962 but decided to keep the Queen as Head of State.

On Wednesday, the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness, effectively told William and Kate that he no longer wants the Queen to be Queen of Jamaica.

And those campaigning for reparations from the UK – compensation for the riches earned from the slave trade – expressed their disappointment with Prince William’s speech in Kingston on Wednesday.

The Duke called it “abhorrent” and repeated his father’s words that it was a “stain” on Britain’s past.

He expressed his sorrow – but didn’t say sorry.

Britain trafficked hundreds of thousands of slaves from West Africa to the Caribbean.

Jamaica had the largest number of slaves in the whole of what was the British West Indies.

"The appalling atrocity of slavery forever stains our history" Prince William says during a visit to Jamaica

In Emancipation Park in Kingston - where they celebrate the moment those 300,000 slaves were freed – some of the visitors there this morning told us they want to see change.

Not just change to the constitution, but also change from their own politicians.

Removing the Queen, they said, and replacing her with a politician is not the only answer.

I’ve also spoken to people here who want to focus on the future rather than keep looking back on the ills of the past.

They want politicians to step up to the plate and push through further changes to create more opportunities for Jamaica’s 2.8 million citizens.

And that issue – opportunity - is front and centre for most Jamaicans.

How to improve their own life chances and whether that is best achieved with a Queen in a Realm or with a President in a new Republic.

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