Kate and Wills' farewell to Jamaica in Land Rover echoes Queen's trip from bygone era

24 March 2022, 21:38 | Updated: 25 March 2022, 09:16

Prince William and Kate took in a parade from an open top Land Rover
Prince William and Kate took in a parade from an open top Land Rover. Picture: Getty/Photo by Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage

By Daisy Stephens

William and Kate echoed royal tours of the 1950s as they viewed a military parade from an open top Land Rover before leaving Jamaica.

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They threw back to images of the Queen travelling in a similar-looking vehicle as they travelled around the parade ground.

The couple has departed from Jamaica after the country's Prime Minister announced plans for the nation to ditch the monarchy and become a republic.

In a tweet, the royal couple said: "Jamaica, it's been a pleasure! Thank you."

The post was accompanied by a picture of the pair waving from the plane.

Prince William and Kate received a mixed reception for the Jamaica leg of their Caribbean tour.

They were greeted with a warm welcome after touching down on Tuesday.

The duke took a salute from the Jamaica Defence Force soldiers as the duchess looked on, laughing with a dignitary as she battled the wind.

But a number of demonstrations were also staged, with protesters demanding an apology from the royals about their family's involvement in the slave trade.

The pair were also mocked for a photo showing them shaking hands with children through a wire fence - and then Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness greeted the couple with an announcement that the country wanted to remove the Queen as head of state and become a republic.

"There are issues here which are, as you would know, unresolved but your presence gives an opportunity for those issues to be placed in context, put front and centre and to be addressed in as best (a way) as we can," Mr Holness told the duke and duchess.

"But Jamaica is, as you would see, a country that is very proud of our history, very proud of what we have achieved.

"And we're moving on and we intend to attain in short order our development goals and fulfil our true ambitions and destiny as an independent, developed, prosperous country."

Read more: William and Kate welcomed to Jamaica despite protests and calls for slavery apology

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British monarchs supported or profited from the slave trade during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Campaigners said they "don't have anything personally" against the couple or the Queen, but are demanding an acknowledgement of the family's involvement in the atrocities.

"Kate and William are beneficiaries, so they are, in fact, complicit because they are positioned to benefit specifically from our ancestors, and we're not benefitting from our ancestors," said Jamaican human rights advocate Opal Adisa, who helped organise a protest outside the British High Commission in Kingston.

"The luxury and the lifestyle that they have had and that they continue to have, traipsing all over the world for free with no expense, that is a result of my great, great grandmother and grandfather, their blood and tears and sweat."

She added: "We don't have anything personally against Kate and Prince William, and even the Queen, for that matter, but we're simply saying you've done wrong, and it is way past time that you admit that you've done wrong and when you do, redressing it."

Protests called for slavery reparations outside the entrance of the British High Commission
Protests called for slavery reparations outside the entrance of the British High Commission. Picture: Getty

In a speech on Wednesday, Prince William expressed his "profound sorrow" and said: "Slavery was abhorrent.

"And it should never have happened."

But his speech fell short of a direct apology.

He went on: "While the pain runs deep, Jamaica continues to forge its future with determination, courage and fortitude.

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"The strength and shared sense of purpose of the Jamaican people, represented in your flag and motto, celebrate an invincible spirit.

"It is this same spirit that spurred on the Windrush generation, who came to the United Kingdom to help rebuild after the Second World War.

"We are forever grateful for the immense contribution that this generation and their descendants have made to British life, which continues to enrich and improve our society."