Prince William and Catherine toured Belize, Jamaica, and The Bahamas last month and… well… it wasn’t the slamdunk success they were hoping for. Even the most ardent royal supporters covering the trip for the UK media couldn’t deny that it was a mess, with protests at multiple locations happening during their visit and Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness telling Will straight up to his face that his country intends to “move on” and become “independent”. The trip was such a PR disaster that William released an unprecedented statement at the conclusion of the tour to acknowledge the controversy and reframe House Cambridge’s approach to future engagements and the British royals’ role going forward in the Commonwealth.
Now it’s House Wessex’s turn on tour. Prince Edward and Sophie are on a weeklong Caribbean trip and yesterday met with Antigua and Barbuda’s PM Gaston Browne and his cabinet who also told the royals of their plans – per PEOPLE:
“Browne told the royal couple that his country intends to become a republic in the future although there were no immediate plans to do so. He also urged them to use their "diplomatic influence" to achieve "reparatory justice" for the island country.
Browne said he understood that the royal family did not want to involve themselves in "contentious issues," but asked them to "understand these issues... use your diplomatic influence in achieving the reparatory justice that we seek."
This story isn’t quite the heatscore that Will and Kate’s trip was but that’s only because, frankly, people don’t care as much about the Wessexes as they do the Cambridges. Still, the issues are still the same. The relevance of the British monarchy is being challenged. Many countries in the Commonwealth are questioning the value of their association to the Crown. And, just a few short weeks after Will and Kate provoked so much backlash, Edward and Sophie are also facing the same.
Only… you would think they’d have been more prepared in certain ways? Like, you saw what happened with your nephew and niece-in-law. You heard what you heard in Antigua and Barbuda. And then you show up in St Lucia and present a signed photo of yourselves to the Prime Minister, Philip Pierre?
Can we play Photo Assumption on Mr Pierre’s face here? I know it’s our favourite game of baseless conclusions but LOL FOREVER because his EXPRESSION!
It’s true, it’s tradition for royals to gift people signed photos when they’re abroad…but it’s also been made quite clear during these times that certain “traditions” are what people are pushing back against. When people are protesting colonisation and the British royal family’s historic involvement in the slave trade, and these two, with their titles and their royalness, roll up with a photo of themselves, signed and wrapped, like it’s a thing to be treasured…
Of course the critics are going to say it’s tone-deaf, because it is!
So I go back to the royal handlers, the team that’s tasked with working on these details and putting together these “gifts”. Were they not paying attention a month ago? Did they not read the room when the walls of the room basically closed in on them? Are they actually listening when they claim to be listening? What is going on in the offices of the palace? How can these people who consistently make such terrible decisions keep getting the opportunity to keep making mistakes?!