To mark Queen Elizabeth II’s 70th year on the throne, Prince William and Duchess Kate embarked on an overseas trip to tour the Caribbean.
“Throughout the tour, The Duke and Duchess will meet a wide variety of people from each country, including children, young people and families, frontline workers, service personnel, leaders from government, business and the charity sector as well as inspiring conservationists, and the early years workforce,” the royal family’s official Instagram account stated on Sunday, March 20, the second day of their trip. “Their [program] will also touch on a number of themes that are close to Their Royal Highnesses’ hearts and a key focus of their work with The Royal Foundation, including The Earthshot Prize, mental health and the importance of early childhood to lifelong outcomes.”
During their time in Belize, the trip took an unexpected turn when William, 39, and Kate, 40, canceled their first outing at a sustainable cocoa farm in Indian Creek. The decision came amid protests about indigenous rights and colonialism.
Ahead of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s arrival, local villagers staged a protest and noted their frustration with the royals’ arrival on their land. At the time, village youth leader Dionisio Shol explained why William and Kate’s helicopter arrival created an issue for the locals.
“For us it really hits right at home because of the treatment. The organizer said we had to let them use the football field and that people were coming to our village and it had to look good. But they didn’t want to divulge who,” Shol told the Daily Mail. “That’s where the first issue arose. These are high-profile people, we respect them, but they also have to be giving respect to the community leaders. Giving community leaders commands did not sit well with the community.”
The palace responded to the concerns with their own statement to The Guardian, explaining, “We can confirm that due to sensitive issues involving the community in Indian Creek, the visit has been moved to a different location. Further details will be provided in due course.”
Following the delay, William and Kate continued with their travels in both Belize and to other countries in the British Commonwealth.
“Catherine and I are delighted to be here in Belize at the beginning of our first official visit to the Caribbean. I am honoured to convey the very warmest wishes from my grandmother, The Queen of Belize, on the occasion of her Platinum Jubilee,” the duo’s official Instagram account stated on Monday, March 21. “In our short time here, Catherine and I have been lucky enough to witness some of the extraordinary biodiversity that you so lovingly nurture here in your jungles and your reefs.”
The U.K. native concluded: “Alongside this environmental diversity, yesterday we also had a taste of Belize’s wonderful cultural diversity – from Mayan chocolate to Garifuna drumming. And yes, you even got us dancing!”
William and Kate, who share children Prince George, 8, Princess Charlotte, 6, and Prince Louis, 3, also used their platform to highlight how the government of Belize is attempting to combat climate change.
“Belize is home to the second largest barrier reef in the world,” their social media account shared alongside a video of William and Kate diving at South Water Caye on Tuesday, March 22. “While the effects of climate change are evident, the Government of Belize and communities across the country deserve huge recognition for their efforts to restore this incredible marine environment – with a commitment to protect 30% of it by 2030.”
Scroll down for highlights from William and Kate’s Caribbean tour: