The Royal Family’s Instagram is flooded with editorialized happy photos of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their first tour in the Caribbean. In the past week, we’ve seen them casually hanging with the locals, meeting with dignitaries and government officials, and even attending formal dinners and parades. Officially, they’ve been welcomed with decorum and excitement as representatives of Queen Elizabeth II, who is still head of Belize, Jamaica, and The Bahamas, three of the Commonwealth countries they’ve visited in this quick tour. But what was the reason behind this ‘idyllic’ trip?
The official motive behind the Caribbean tour is to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth; that is her 70 years on the throne of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth (which, by the way, has reduced considerably during these long seven decades). But, as it happens with politics, there’s another reason behind it that isn’t as friendly as it appears to be. Just a couple of months ago, Barbados, a former Commonwealth nation, announced its formal independence from the Commonwealth and removed Queen Elizabeth as head of state. Although the resolution seemed amicable and even Prince Charles was invited to the celebrations, there’s no doubt that the Crown still holds some of its colonial spirits and will do its best to ensure the remaining Commonwealth nations stay that way. Enter William and Kate.
The English monarchy is going through a difficult time of uncertainty. The passing of Prince Philip only reminded the people that Queen Elizabeth is not getting any younger. At 96 (a month away from turning 96) the Queen’s health condition has decreased. She’s canceled public appearances and she’s officially moved her residency to Windsor’s Castle, which means she’s putting some distance from Buckingham and the Parliament. The idea of the Queen passing makes the UK vulnerable, especially considering that Prince Charles and Camilla aren’t precisely that loved among their people. Not only, that, but increasing anti-monarchic movements also threaten the stability of the Crown as it has only happened a very few times in history. So what’s to do?
The answer is exploiting the idea of the most beloved members of the Royal Family to increase their popularity among the Commonwealth nations and avoid them following the steps of Barbados and using this vulnerability to finally achieve independence after centuries. Now, this was destined to fail since the beginning and the main reason is that the Crown seems to be working exactly the same way they did decades ago while being reluctant to see what these nations need and want. In other words, the Crown still perpetuates their colonial practices and fails to see that this system of obedience is no longer viable nor ethical.
Among the three visited countries, it was Jamaica the one that didn’t comply that easily. As a matter of fact, Jamaica had already begun a separation process from the monarchy, so they had to act fast. It was obvious since it was announced that the people in general no longer want to be part of a political system that keeps pushing them back. A group of influential politicians, academics, and people, in general, signed an open letter asking the monarchy for an apology and the reparations payment for centuries of subjecting Jamaica to a colonial rule including slavery. Just to put into perspective, Jamaica has Queen Elizabeth as head of their government, yet Jamaicans have to get visas to visit the UK. That’s not a shared government nor are they part of the so-called brotherhood of nations that’s colonialism it all its might. Naturally, having the golden couple shoving their faces while mingling with the crowds (behind a barbed wire… yep, they didn’t see the problem with that) won’t fix centuries of an abusive and advantageous relationship.
Prince William’s answer, considering that he had previously stated that they’re not a racist family (which they are), was that he felt a “profound sorrow for the appalling atrocity of slavery.” The statement, which is far from being an apology from a person who still gloats from the benefits of slavery and colonialism, wasn’t well received in the country who replied that “there was no responsibility taken! No call out of centuries of British bloody conquest and plunder.”
All in all, on Instagram they will say it was a fruitful and amicable tour where William and Kate so humbly got to absorb the cultural riches of these countries, but in fact, it has only proven that the monarchy isn’t willing to accept that they have that position of power due to centuries of abuse and crimes against humanity nor that they are willing to make reparations and change their ways.
The Queen is the pillar that’s holding up this mess of institutions together, but none of the first on the line of succession will likely be capable of saving the monarchy without perpetuating their old, unethical, and outdated ways.