British royals’ Caribbean tour draws calls for reparations, launches anti-colonial protests

One protester in Kingston held a sign reading: "Kings, Queens and Princesses and Princes belong in fairytales, not in Jamaica!"

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Anti-colonial protests have followed Prince William and his wife, Princess Catherine, to every Caribbean nation they’ve visited in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s 70th year on the throne.

According to The Washington Post, instead of warm welcomes, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are being received with calls for reparations, apologies, and considerations to remove the queen as the head of state.

People protest to demand an apology and slavery reparations during a visit to the former British colony by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate, in Kingston, Jamaica Tuesday. (Photo: Collin Reid/AP)

The eight-day trip, which began Saturday, marks their first joint official overseas visit since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Stops include Belize, Jamaica, and the Bahamas. The royals will not be visiting Barbados, which cast off Queen England II as its head of state last year, declaring itself a republic.

An organization called the Advocates Network, made up of 100 leading human rights advocates, professors and attorneys in Jamaica, released an open letter to Prince William upon the royals’ arrival there on Tuesday.

“During her 70 years on the throne, your grandmother has done nothing to redress and atone for the suffering of our ancestors that took place during her reign and/or during the entire period of British trafficking of Africans, enslavement, indentureship and colonization,” they wrote, in part.

The letter called on the prince to advocate for atonement and reparations, concluding in a distinctly Jamaican tone: “We encourage you to act accordingly and just ‘sey yuh sorry!’”

The Post reports that protesters in Kingston held signs reading, “Kings, Queens and Princesses and Princes belong in fairytales, not in Jamaica!” and “Who voted for the Queen? Not me.”

The very first stop on their tour was canceled Sunday in Belize amid protests over a visit to a farm currently involved in a land dispute.

The protests come after at least two years of global exhaustion amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has disproportionately affected Black people around the world, as well as at least two years of protests against police violence and the rise of white extremism.

Additionally, the British royal family has been plagued by issues over the past few years, including the death of Prince Philip, a sex scandal involving Prince Andrew, and the revelation of alleged racism after Prince Harry married the former actress, Meghan Markle, a bi-racial American. The couple has since given up their formal royal roles and live in California.

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