Prince William released a landmark statement reflecting on the future governance of the Caribbean nations as he and Kate Middleton’s tour of the Caribbean came to an end on Saturday.
“I know that this tour has brought into even sharper focus questions about the past and the future. In Belize, Jamaica and The Bahamas, that future is for the people to decide upon,” William said.
The Duke of Cambridge reiterated his hope that the 54-nation Commonwealth will continue to “create a better future” for its people.
“Foreign tours are an opportunity to reflect. You learn so much. What is on the minds of Prime Ministers. The hopes and ambitions of school children. The day-to-day challenges faced by families and communities,” William’s statement began.
“We have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with communities in all three countries, understanding more about the issues that matter most to them,” he continued.
“Catherine and I are committed to service. For us that’s not telling people what to do. It is about serving and supporting them in whatever way they think best, by using the platform we are lucky to have,” William added.
“It is why tours such as this reaffirm our desire to serve the people of the Commonwealth and to listen to communities around the world. Who the Commonwealth chooses to lead its family in the future isn’t what is on my mind. What matters to us is the potential the Commonwealth family has to create a better future for the people who form it, and our commitment to serve and support as best we can,” he concluded.
While the royal couple have been greeted by smiles and cheers throughout their tour, they’ve also faced controversy. Protests over colonialism have occurred, as well as requests to drop the Duke’s grandmother Queen Elizabeth as Jamaica’s head of state.
Following protests in Jamaica, which occurred during the tour, William expressed his “sorrow” towards the “abhorrent” history of slavery on behalf of the U.K., however, some thought it wasn’t enough due to his absent formal apology.
In another speech Friday, William acknowledged that “friendship endures” despite the fact that “relationships evolve” between the U.K. and the Caribbean countries.
The Duke’s statement on Saturday concluded his and Kate’s eight-day Caribbean tour. They saw innovative work being done to restore coral reefs, met locals and visited islands still facing the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.