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The Earl and Countess of Wessex‘s challenging Caribbean tour continues today with the couple set to face more protests from activists who have branded them ‘invaders’.
Prince Edward and his wife Sophie are set to travel to Antigua and Barbuda this morning amid warnings from the island to avoid ‘phoney sanctimony’ over slavery.
The Wessexes are in the Caribbean to mark the Queen‘s Platinum Jubilee year, just weeks after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travelled to the region amid claims elements of their tour became colonial-esque after they greeted black children in Jamaica through fences and inspected troops from the back of a Land Rover.
Edward and Sophie are now in the region and have been branded ‘oligarchs’ by protesters who want to remove the Queen as head of state of their islands and are demanding money and a full apology for past ‘crimes against humanity.’
On Antigua and Barbuda today, they have a full day of engagements planned, including a trip to the Sir Viv Richards Stadium where they will meet former West Indies cricketers.
Jomo Thomas, former chairman of the National Reparations Committee, said that people want to show their disgust that their governments had decided to ‘lay down the red carpet for invaders’, adding: ‘Edward and his entourage should not be fêted in our land’.
He said: ‘They hunted us down, they kidnapped us, they stole us, they worked us. They owe us and they must now pay us’.
It came hours after the Wessexes were criticised by St Lucia’s most famous DJ after he slammed the royal Jubilee tour on air yesterday – asking how it benefits the islanders and demanded to know how much taxpayers were paying for it.
The Countess of Wessex during her visit to Morne Fortune, a Saint Lucia National Trust site, where she was shown the monuments to St Lucian Nobel Laureates, Sir W Arthur Lewis and Sir Derek Walcott and learnt more about the country’s history, as she continues her visit to the Caribbean, with her husband the Earl of Wessex, to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, was seen sporting a suit as he and his wife Sophie Wessex attended the service at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church
The Queen is all smiles as she heads out this morning on the Sandringham Estate
Prior to their Caribbean tour, the country’s Reparations Support Commission penned an open letter to the couple saying: ‘For us, they are the source of genocide and of continuing deep international injury, injustice and racism.
‘We hope you will respect us by not repeating the mantra. We are not simpletons.’
On their visit to the island, the couple will first receive a guard of honour at the VC Bird International Airport before meeting the country’s Prime Minister and members of his cabinet.
They will then travel to Government House where they are due to present three Platinum Jubilee medals to three people to recognise their service to national security.
Edward and Sophie will also speak to some of the country’s craftspeople, creatives and community groups, and the countess will speak to women about their work towards female empowerment.
The couple are scheduled to visit the National Sailing Academy, where they will meet children who have benefitted from a programme which offers people with disabilities the opportunity to get involved with water activities.
To complete their tour of the island the earl and countess will visit Clarence House where they will plant a tree to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
They will also attend a reception in celebration of Antigua and Barbuda’s culture and traditions, and will learn about local delicacies and produce.
Yesterday the couple had another setback on their Caribbean tour as St Lucia’s biggest radio host criticised the Jubilee tour – asking how it benefits the islanders.
Sam Flood, host of Tells It Like It Is on Saint Lucian radio, slammed the visit saying: ‘I would like to know what is the purpose of this royal visit and who is paying for it.
‘They kept a reception at the Governor’s house for the Prince and Princess and I would like to know whether all those attending were wearing any face masks for protection.
‘Who paid for the drinks and food that was being consumed at the Governor’s house? Did the Royal family sponsor it or did our government?’
He added ‘What is the purpose of this trip to Saint Lucia? How are Saint Lucia and its people benefitting from this trip? What have we done to deserve this trip? I would like to know who is benefitting from this Royal visit.”Who really are these royals and what is their significance? It is not like they are quite high up in the Royal family. Who are they and what will they bring to the island that will benefit us as a people.’
Mr Flood broadcasts in a Saint Lucian French creole, the language spoken by more than 90 per cent of locals.
The royal couple landed in St Lucia on Friday where they received a warm welcome with a red carpet rolled out before travelling to St Vincent and the Grenadines on Saturday – where they were met by a group of around 15 protesters who displayed placards, which included ‘end to colonialism’, ‘£CompensationNow’, ‘down with neo-colonialism’ and ‘Britain your debt is outstanding’, as they made their way to Government House on the island.
Yesterday, they were back in St Lucia to be received by Arch Deacon Christian Glasgow.
The Earl and Countess also visited Morne Fortune, a Saint Lucia National Trust site, where they were shown the monuments to St Lucian Nobel Laureates, Sir W Arthur Lewis and Sir Derek Walcott and learned more about the country’s history.
The two engagements carried out by the couple avoided crowds, with the small service beginning their day.
Edward and Sophie are due to travel to Antigua and Barbuda on Monday, where an organisation has already warned the pair to avoid ‘phoney sanctimony’ over slavery.
The Platinum Jubilee tour was organised to mark the Queen’s 70-year reign, and it comes shortly after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were criticised for some elements of their recent Caribbean tour, deemed to hark back to colonial days.
Sophie Wessex was the picture of summer chic yesterday as she joined her husband Prince Edward at church in St Lucia on the third day of their Caribbean tour
The Countess of Wessex, 57, sported a white polka tee dress and brushed her hair back into a low ponytail while her husband, 58, sported a suit as they attended the service at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church
Sophie and Edward were greeted in the sunshine by the deputy prime minister Dr Ernest Hilaire and the ADC to the governor general Captain Cyril Saltibus after they disembarked their British Airways flight at Saint Lucia’s Hewanorra International Airport on Friday afternoon.
Sophie, wearing a red dress, joined her husband as they walked down the red carpet to a platform, where Edward stood to receive the guard of honour while the island’s police band performed the country’s national anthem.
The pair are also met the prime minister of Saint Lucia Philip Pierre and the acting governor general Cyril Errol Melchiades Charles later on Friday.
Yesterday, the red carpet was rolled out yet again as the Earl and Countess of Wessex arrived at Argyle International Airpor, while steel drums playing One Love by Bob Marley welcomed them to the island.
However not everyone seem too impressed by their arrival, as Sophie was forced to duck from a swooping Amazona guildingii – the island’s national bird – during a visit to the botanical gardens.
As she entered the aviary, the countess was unaware of one bird resting on the cage above her.
Before she was followed into the enclosure by her husband the Earl of Wessex, it swooped down just over the top of her head, forcing her to immediately duck down. Her sunglasses fell forwards onto her face to the sound of laughter from those present.
Sophie did eventually get used to the bird, however, and by the end of her tour, she was feeding them from the palm of her hand.
The couple are on a seven-day tour of the Caribbean to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee this year and will be hoping to drum up support for the monarchy in the region with growing republican movements
Yesterday, they were back in St Lucia to be received by Arch Deacon Christian Glasgow.
The Platinum Jubilee tour was organised to mark the Queen’s 70-year reign, and it comes shortly after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were criticised for some elements of their recent Caribbean tour, deemed to hark back to colonial days
The week-long tour will see Sophie and Edward ‘meet communities, local entrepreneurs and craftspeople, and young people’ as well as athletes training for the Commonwealth Games.
No further details were given for Thursday’s postponement of the Grenada leg of the tour.
It is understood that the planning of the royal tour involved discussions between the host countries, royal officials and other parties.
The chairman of the Antigua and Barbuda Reparations Support Commission, Dorbrene O’Marde has told a local radio station: ‘Essentially, it supports the positions taken by other…people as far as the issue of reparation is concerned and the inability of the absence of an apology from the Crown both as family and as an institution for their role in the enslavement of African people in the slave trade and in the slavery of African people.’
The royal couple – who share children Louise and James – are seen walking into the church
A banner was placed outside the church appearing to welcome the couple to the sunny Caribbean island
The Earl and Countess (pictured in church this morning) will also visit Morne Fortune, a Saint Lucia National Trust site, where they will be shown the monuments to St Lucian Nobel Laureates, Sir W Arthur Lewis and Sir Derek Walcott and learn more about the country’s history
It follows Prince William and Kate Middleton’s trip to the region last month, which saw the couple face backlash over ‘avoidable PR’ errors.
William and Kate were greeted as rock stars in Belize, Jamaica and now The Bahamas – with cheering crowds chanting ‘we love you’ – but they also faced challenges in three nations with burgeoning campaigns for complete independence from the UK and demands for slave trade reparations.
There were several missteps, including pictures of the couple shaking hands with black children through a wire fence in Trench Town, Jamaica. They were also accused of taking part in ‘colonial-style’ photo opportunity by riding around in a 1953 Land Rover inspecting troops, with William wearing military uniform.
Sophie looked effortlessly chic as she sported the white dress with a clutch bag to the Sunday service
Sophie and Edward are also scheduled to Antigua and after the 11th hour postponement of the Grenada leg of their trip
Prince Edward, who is the Queen’s youngest son, appeared to speak at the church service this morning
The future king was also accused of being ‘tone deaf’ and not showing the ‘courage’ to apologise for the slave trade in a landmark speech, while the opening event in Belize had to be postponed because of protests.
The jubilee schedule is one of the first signs of the new look monarchy, with Prince Andrew and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex previously making similar overseas trips.
The Queen, who no longer flies, would not have been expected to travel, but it’s rare for Wessexes to do a high profile joint overseas tour that might have otherwise been handed to Harry and Meghan.
It’s long been believed that Prince Charles will ‘slim down’ the monarchy when he becomes king to eight key members.
The trips to the Caribbean islands will see the senior royals on a charm offensive following in a bid to shore up support for the monarchy in the region.
In November, Prince Charles visited Barbados for a ceremony to mark its historic decision to remove the Queen as head of state.
Other Commonwealth countries in the region, including Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Dominica, already have their own heads of state.
Last year, John Briceno, the Prime Minister of Belize, did not rule out his nation following suit, saying: ‘We need to find what fits Belize best.’
Source: Daily Mail