Yesterday, Wednesday, was the midpoint of Prince William and Catherine Cambridge’s tour of Belize, Jamaica, and The Bahamas. As we have seen, it is not going the way they imagined – not in their wildest imaginations, clearly, did they think it would go down this way. At this point, the hope, then, is that yesterday was rock bottom? Yesterday was not a good day.
It started with a debate over those photos of Will and Kate which I wrote about yesterday. Then the Cambridges met with Jamaican PM Andrew Holness and his wife, Juliet. During that meeting, with cameras rolling, this is what happened:
The PM of Jamaica, @andrewholnessJM, welcomed Prince William & Kate Middleton on their 1st visit to the country by telling them Jamaica is â€œmoving onâ€ in â€œshort orderâ€ & intends to â€œfulfil our true ambitions as an independent developed prosperous country.â€pic.twitter.com/FplKBmieHV— R.S. Locke / Royal Suitor (@royal_suitor) March 23, 2022
As someone said on Twitter, and now I can’t find the tweet so I can’t give proper credit and wherever you are I’m sorry, it’s like showing up for a vow renewal and being asked for a divorce. Jamaica, like Barbados last year, would like to break up with the British monarchy. Of course, this didn’t just happen overnight, of course, it’s not like William and Kate being there inspired this sentiment, but the fact is, William was the one there having the message shoved in his face. Which they definitely were not expecting, this was not on the schedule, this was not planned for. Nobody at Kensington Palace, when they were putting together the agenda for this tour, was planning for PM Holness to be delivering a peace out to the crown in William’s presence.
Just as they did not plan for William to have to address slavery in his remarks last night at the dinner hosted by Patrick Allen, Governor General of Jamaica. This was added to his speech only after the trip started and the protests that happened in both Belize and Jamaica.
'PROFOUND SORROW': Britain's Prince William expresses â€œprofound sorrowâ€ over the â€œappalling atrocity of slaveryâ€ during a speech in Kingston, Jamaica. The country's PM has told the prince that he intends to cut ties with the monarchy. https://t.co/N7qSor1k9C pic.twitter.com/DIQ1aL6qxT— ABC News (@ABC) March 24, 2022
This is what I wrote yesterday about protocol and authority – that William’s comments would likely echo those of his father Prince Charles’s in Barbados last November because there’s little chance that he can go further with his messaging than the future king. Everything must remain consistent in this family, there’s a game plan and one must stick to it.
But if we’re talking game plans for this trip specifically, the entire playbook really has changed. Like I said, they had a schedule, they operate on schedules, they work on script, the British royals, but their script clearly wasn’t working for some people in Belize and Jamaica, which means that by royal standards, Will and Kate have had to go off-script. Which is not their comfort zone.
The British royals do not freestyle. It’s basically their nightmare. Their whole sh-t is military precision, so the fact that they’ve been thrown off-balance, it’s forcing them to improvise, a skill-set they really don’t have. But with protests also reportedly being planned in The Bahamas, it might just be improv from here on out to the end of the tour. And I can’t stress enough how much improv is NOT part of the royal DNA.
But in so many ways, the way they’ve been forced to improv here is symbolic of the conundrum of the entire British royal institution overall in these times as they steadfastly, relentlessly try to hold on to their traditions in the face of rapid and tumultuous changes. It’s not that they’ve totally refused to modernise, it’s that because of all their f-cking royal red tape and processes, they’ve been SLOW. They haven’t adapted quickly enough and as a result, they’ve been caught flat-footed over and over again.
Having to improv when you’re not ready for improv is… well… when it happens on stage, it’s mortifying. That’s what Will and Kate’s tour has been so far – they’re on stage, the prompters have cut out, they have no script to work with, they’re getting heckled, and they don’t f-cking know how to improv. So it’s time to learn.