Kate and Will mocked over 'tone deaf' photo as Jamaican PM suggests ditching monarchy

23 March 2022, 21:02 | Updated: 24 March 2022, 00:46

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge visit Trench Town, the birthplace of reggae music, on day four of the Platinum Jubilee Royal Tour of the Caribbean on March 22, 2022 in Kingston, Jamaica.
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge visit Trench Town, the birthplace of reggae music, on day four of the Platinum Jubilee Royal Tour of the Caribbean on March 22, 2022 in Kingston, Jamaica. Picture: Getty

By Sophie Barnett

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been criticised for being "witless" and "tone deaf" after they were photographed shaking hands with children through a wire fence during their tour of Jamaica.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The Cambridges have been met with protests since landing in the country earlier this week over the legacy of slavery, amid claims they benefit from their "blood, tears and sweat".

They were pictured on Wednesday on one side of a chain-linked fence, with Jamaicans on the other side reaching through to try and shake their hands.

The picture shows the couple meeting local children at a football pitch in the Trench Town neighbourhood of the Jamaican capital Kingston.

Al Murray mocked the Duke and Duchess for the "witless" photo, while others slammed the couple for being "tone deaf".

The comedian shared the photo and sarcastically captioned it with: “YES THAT’S THE BEST PICTURE YES LET’S GO WITH THAT.”

Replying to a later tweet which questioned whether he would have the same response if it was Meghan Markle in the photo, he said: “Yes because whoever approved that image would have been as docile and witless too, which I’m sure you realise was the point I was making."

While others on social media called the picture "tone deaf", with many questioning "who thought this was a good photo op?"

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

William and Kate received an official welcome from the Caribbean nation's premier on Tuesday and he described how Jamaica intended to fulfil its destiny "as an independent, developed, prosperous country".

Prime Minister Andrew Holness welcomed the couple before sitting down for talks, saying: "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.

"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."

Jamaica continues to have the Queen as the head of state but politicians have called for her to be replaced and the country to become a republic. There are also demands for a formal acknowledgement over slavery.

During a demonstration outside the British High Commission in Kingston, protesters gathered and one girl held up a sign that said: "Kings, Queens and Princesses and Princes belong in fairytales not in Jamaica!"

A Jamaican human rights advocate, Opal Adisa, who helped plan the protest, said: "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.

"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."

Prince William is due to acknowledge the issue of slavery, and a royal spokesperson said he was aware of the demonstrations.

The duke joined a football game where he even set up a goal by England star Raheem Sterling.

The Manchester City forward was allowed to stop by Kingston, where he was born before later moving to the UK.