Analysis: When royal tours fail

This time it won’t. There was a constant stream of negative headlines coming from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s visit to the Caribbean, and they drowned out the more positive coverage that was undoubtedly there.

It’s not that William and Kate did something different this time. Their trip retained all the hallmarks of a traditional royal visit: dancing, sports with a national hero, glamorous dinners and performances. But what seems to have changed is the tone around these trips, and they may have to adapt to that if the “triumphant” tour headlines return.

CNN was not on this tour, but we traveled a lot with the family. There are always republican and anti-monarchist demonstrations that royals usually have no problem with, in our experience.

The family believes in self-determination, so if a country wants to replace the Queen with its president-elect as head of state, they will support it, as demonstrated by Prince Charles, who was present and approved the swearing-in of a new president. Barbados last year.

But over the past couple of years, those demonstrations have changed. They are still about cutting ties with the monarchy, but it’s not just about independence and the future. It’s also about coming to terms with the past, and in many areas of the Commonwealth it’s about the slave trade and Britain’s role in it. Many in these former British colonies also want an apology and redress.

The royal family’s ties to slavery date back to the 16th century. Queen Elizabeth I provided slave trader John Hawkins with his own ship “for the express purpose of capturing Africans on the West African coast,” according to an article in the UK National Archives. Subsequent members of the royal family invested heavily in the slave trade. Many grand stately homes in Britain today were built with the proceeds of slavery and colonial exploitation.

The Duke addressed the topic by discussing Britain’s historic role in slavery in his only speech during the couple’s stopover in Jamaica, denouncing the “disgusting” practice and expressing “deep regret”.

For many, this will not be enough. A formal apology and acceptance of responsibility would open the door to questions about financial restitution. This is the prerogative of the UK government, not the royal family. When it comes to state affairs, members of the royal family act on the advice of ministers, so an apology or reparations must first be agreed with the government.

Earlier in the day, in what appeared to be a tense meeting, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness suggested that the couple’s trip to Jamaica could be their last with the British monarch as head of state, telling them the country was “moving forward” and would reach it.” true aspiration” to be “independent”.

For critics, royal tours are entertainment for the antiquated British monarchy, but it’s hard work for everyone involved, and the reality is that they only happen at the request of the host country, which goes through the British government. It is about promoting the UK brand and strengthening international relations. And members of the royal family are considered by the British Foreign Office as the main tool for promotion and the main national treasure.

Kate meets the audience during a visit to Trench Town, the birthplace of reggae music.

American-British playwright, writer, and columnist Bonnie Greer said that the royal tour model is “quite archaic” and requires “immediate resolution”. She suggested that the way to modernize them would be for the organizers to ask the potential host nation to “find a way to ask people if they want a tour and tell the royal family that.”

However, there are others who believe that tours are a relic of the past and should be completely abandoned. Naomi Evans, co-founder of Everyday Racism, told us she found them “problematic” and the world has outgrown them.

“There has been such an awakening of how racism, capitalism, colonialism, the enslavement of people have affected our daily lives, and people are beginning to see how problematic two people who directly benefited from colonialism and the Empire are walking, smiling and laughing. how it doesn’t really add anything to these countries,” she says.

“There is absolutely no need for them. What do they represent? What do you say when you send people who have colonized, stolen from other countries, and you send representatives there? For what? I don’t understand what their purpose is other than to go and apologize and start talking about how you make amends.”

Meanwhile, the British anti-monarchist group Republic called the Caribbean tour a “turning point” and called the visit “poorly conceived and poorly executed”.

“There has been a marked shift in attitudes towards royalty in the UK and across the Commonwealth over the last decade,” said Group CEO Graham Smith. “BLM (Black Lives Matter) and the anti-slavery movements in particular helped change the direction away from monarchy towards more independent and egalitarian ideas.”

Prince William arrives in Nassau, Bahamas.

The Cambridges end the week with a final stop in the Bahamas, where they hope to refocus the tour on the organizations and individuals they support and want to promote.

There will be palace debriefings, as always after these walks, and they will learn from the experience and adjust, because that is how the monarchy has survived so far. The key question is whether the current format of royal tours is the most effective way to promote Britain and strengthen ties with its former colonies.

WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON?

Queen’s delight in handmade artifacts.

Queen Elizabeth II beamed during her latest engagement. She was pictured smiling broadly as she gazed at an exhibition of hand-decorated teapots and antique enameled trinket boxes brought to Windsor Castle on Wednesday. Clutching a cane in her hand, the monarch examined the luxury goods of the British craft company Halcyon Days in the White Drawing Room of the castle, timed to coincide with the company’s 70th anniversary. The presentation included items representing some of his earliest designs from the 1950s, as well as current collections including English fine bone china. Halcyon Days is one of only 14 companies in the world with all three royal awards. The sovereign also watched the demonstration of traditional enamel finishing and gilding by hand by craftsmen.

Queen Elizabeth II inspecting hand-decorated porcelain at Windsor Castle.

British Vogue put Queen on the cover.

The young Queen Elizabeth II will grace the cover of British Vogue for the first time as the magazine celebrates the monarch’s platinum jubilee with a special commemorative issue. “British Vogue pays tribute to Her Majesty The Queen by looking back on her unique relationship with the monarch during her seventy years on the throne,” the press release reads. This was the first time the Queen appeared on the cover as photographs, as previous issues dedicated to the monarch had used illustrations. The photo chosen for the April cover is a black and white photograph taken by British photographer Anthony Armstrong Jones, who died in 2017. He was married to the Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret, between 1960 and 1978. Problem will go on sale March 29 with a separate cover featuring The King’s Gambit actress Anya Taylor-Joy.

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Prince Philip died in April 2020 at the age of 99.

Buckingham Palace has shared some details about a special thanksgiving service dedicated to the life of the Duke of Edinburgh, due to take place on Tuesday at Westminster Abbey.

The memorial event will honor “Prince Philip’s devotion to family, nation and the Commonwealth and recognize the importance of his legacy in creating opportunities for young people, promoting sustainable use and conservation of the environment and supporting the armed forces,” the palace said in a statement. .

The statement also said that particular attention will be paid to the Duke’s lifelong contribution to public service, his dedicated work with 700 organizations and the legacy of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme.

Of course, members of the royal family will be in attendance, but the palace said we can also expect members of foreign royal families, as well as Philip’s wider family, friends and household staff, to be among the guests at the service. More than 500 representatives of the Duke’s former charities and patronage organizations will also be represented.

Other members of the congregation will include representatives of the British government, the armed forces and devolved administrations of Great Britain, as well as high commissioners and representatives of overseas territories.

During the service, music will be performed by the choirs of Westminster Abbey and the Royal Chapel, and before and after the event, the band of the Royal Marines will play.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

William and Kate weren’t the only members of the royal family to arrive this week for the Queen’s 70th birthday tour. Prince Charles and his wife Camilla visited Northern Ireland for a two-day visit. Huge crowds of people gathered in Cookstown to look at the members of the royal family. While there, they rode a tandem bike, meeting with volunteers at the Superstars Cafe, a center that provides job opportunities and helps educate young people with learning difficulties. They then crossed the border into the Republic of Ireland to visit Waterford, Ireland’s oldest city, and meet groups that are working to promote sustainable nutrition and address climate change through agriculture.

“We are always grateful for the tremendous contribution this generation and their descendants have made to British life, which continues to enrich and improve our society.”

Prince William

Speaking in Jamaica, the Duke also paid tribute to the Windrush Generation, who came to the United Kingdom from the Caribbean to help rebuild the country after World War II. The British government’s treatment of these people and their descendants sparked a scandal in 2018 when it was revealed that they had been subjected to harsh immigration crackdowns.

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