Wills: 'I may never head the Commonwealth'

I may never head the Commonwealth, admits William in dramatic statement saying he and Kate are ‘committed to service’ after ‘colonialism’ row over their Caribbean tour

  • The Duke of Cambridge addressed growing republican sentiment inside the Caribbean at the end of his tour
  • William and Kate spent a week on the tour which was branded ‘tone deaf’ and plagued by several PR gaffes
  •  William tacitly acknowledged the anti-royalist sentiment, in his extraordinary statement at the tour’s end
  • It is claimed with the ailing Queen, there are cracks showing in the 70-year-old Commonwealth  
  • Prince William has admitted he might never succeed the Queen as head of the Commonwealth following his trouble-hit visit to the Caribbean.

    In an unprecedented end-of-tour statement, the Duke addressed the growing republican sentiment the trip had inadvertently highlighted, acknowledging it had ‘brought into even sharper focus questions about the past and the future’.

    His week-long trip with Kate, which came to an end last night, has been plagued by public relations gaffes and protests about British colonialism, which led to the endeavour being branded ‘tone deaf’ to modern sensibilities.

    William tacitly acknowledged the anti-royalist sentiment, in his extraordinary statement, saying that while he was ‘committed to service’, that involved ‘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,’ he added.

    Prince William has admitted he might never succeed the Queen as head of the Commonwealth following his trouble-hit visit to the Caribbean

    Prince William has admitted he might never succeed the Queen as head of the Commonwealth following his trouble-hit visit to the Caribbean

    The trip was designed to bolster the popularity of the Royal Family in the Caribbean, where many of the current Commonwealth countries are considering switching to an elected head of state rather than a monarch

    The trip was designed to bolster the popularity of the Royal Family in the Caribbean, where many of the current Commonwealth countries are considering switching to an elected head of state rather than a monarch

    ‘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.’

    The statement – which comes against the backdrop of the Queen’s growing frailty and doubts about whether she will be able to attend the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service on Tuesday – effectively concedes that cracks are appearing in the Commonwealth, which has been the pride of her 70-year reign.

    By breaking the Monarchy’s age-old ‘never complain, never explain’ mantra, the Duke was signalling that the tour of Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas had not gone as expected.

    One walkabout led to heavily criticised pictures of the Duke and Duchess shaking hands with impoverished children through a fence in Trench Town, Jamaica.

    Further criticism, led by the BBC, came when the couple inspected a military parade in an open-topped Land Rover which had been used by the Queen in 1953.

    Royal insiders admitted the moment, designed as a homage to the Queen, had been poorly received. One said: ‘It was a throwback to a bygone era – and also impinged on the god-like status of the Queen.’

    However, another senior royal insider indicated that William’s statement indicated the 39-year-old Prince was ‘coming of age’.

    By breaking the Monarchy’s age-old ‘never complain, never explain’ mantra, the Duke was signalling that the tour of Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas had not gone as expected

    By breaking the Monarchy’s age-old ‘never complain, never explain’ mantra, the Duke was signalling that the tour of Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas had not gone as expected

    They said: ‘William wanted to acknowledge that not everything on the tour landed the right way, but the couple are of the generation which learns from mistakes.

    ‘You have to look like you know it’s not all worked, acknowledge the world has changed and react, not double down.

    ‘He was showing that he understands that it can’t be taken for granted that he will lead the Commonwealth – you serve as long as the people want you to serve, you listen, accept their choices and change if you need to.

    ‘That’s how the Commonwealth survives in the end, by not forcing anything.’

    The insider added that the impetus for the statement had ‘come from KP’ – Kensington Palace – rather than Prince Charles, who was not mentioned. It is thought the Queen was made aware of yesterday’s statement before it was released.

    The Queen has been head of the Commonwealth since coming to the Throne in 1952.

    As well as the UK, she is head of state for 14 other nations, called realms. Last year, Barbados removed the Queen as head of state, but remains in the Commonwealth. The Mail on Sunday can also reveal that William:

    • Agonised for months over the tour for fear of how it would be perceived but decided it was ‘better to go’;
    • Made a last-minute change to a speech on Friday in the face of criticism about the colonial overtones, adding a section to show he realised countries may choose to remove the Queen as head of state;
    • Persuaded Jamaican-born former equerry Major David Clarke to come out of retirement to join him on the trip;
    • Took a private charter jet to visit the winner of his environmental prize on an island in the Bahamas;
    • Consulted the Queen for advice before the tour.

    We can also disclose that William’s aides asked tabloid newspapers to put his picture on the front pages, so Kate didn’t appear alone.

    Despite all the problems, the couple ended the tour on a high yesterday as they joked with locals while trying street food at a beach in the Bahamas William’s statement was welcomed as ‘astute’ by Tobias Ellwood, the Tory chairman of the Commons Defence Committee, as it opened the possibility of the leader of another Commonwealth nation heading the whole organisation

    Despite all the problems, the couple ended the tour on a high yesterday as they joked with locals while trying street food at a beach in the Bahamas William’s statement was welcomed as ‘astute’ by Tobias Ellwood, the Tory chairman of the Commons Defence Committee, as it opened the possibility of the leader of another Commonwealth nation heading the whole organisation

    Despite all the problems, the couple ended the tour on a high yesterday as they joked with locals while trying street food at a beach in the Bahamas William’s statement was welcomed as ‘astute’ by Tobias Ellwood, the Tory chairman of the Commons Defence Committee, as it opened the possibility of the leader of another Commonwealth nation heading the whole organisation.

    Mr Ellwood said: ‘He is quite wisely introducing the notion that the future leadership of the Commonwealth should be determined on a more democratic basis.

    ‘In the longer term, it is absolutely right that the leadership of his important organisation should be opened up.

    ‘It shouldn’t necessarily always be the UK. But it’s a missed opportunity that such insight was not offered prior to the Jamaica visit. Had William shared these thought-provoking ideas before his arrival it would have, no doubt, triggered a more friendly and pragmatic atmosphere during his time there.’

    A source said that for months beforehand, William had ‘wrestled’ with the idea of the tour ‘and what realms mean in this day and age’. They added the ‘humility’ of the Prince’s sentiments was an acknowledgement that the tour had been bungled.

    The image of a privileged white couple meeting poor black children was said to be ‘troubling’ to William before the trip but ‘he decided in the end that it was better to go and meet people rather than stay at home’.

    The source said: ‘William was always going to talk about slavery in Jamaica. That was a given. But on Friday morning he sat down with his private secretary Jean-Christophe Gray and redrafted a speech he was due to give that night to include lines about how he had reflected on what he had heard during the tour.’

    The decision led to Prince William telling dignitaries at the Governor-General’s reception in the Bahamas: ‘We support with pride and respect your decisions about your future. Relationships evolve. Friendship endures.’

    Last night the Prince went even further, thinking ahead to a time when he will be on the Throne and revealing his thoughts on the future of the Monarchy.

    His statement said: ‘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.

    ‘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.

    ‘But we have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with communities in all three countries, understanding more about the issues that matter most to them.’ A source close to William said of last night’s statement: ‘This is about modern Monarchy.’

    Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness has made ditching the Queen as head of state a priority of his government. Last week, Mr Holness told Kate and William during an awkward official meeting that his country was ‘moving on’.

    Maintaining good relations with the 54 Commonwealth countries is often cited as one of the biggest achievements of Her Majesty’s reign.

    In 2018, Commonwealth leaders voted that Prince Charles would eventually succeed the Queen as the head of the Commonwealth after she said it was her ‘sincere wish’ for that to happen.

    During her Christmas broadcast of 1953 the Queen set out its goals, saying: ‘The Commonwealth bears no resemblance to the empires of the past. It is an entirely new conception built on the highest qualities of the spirit of man: friendship, loyalty, and the desire for freedom and peace.’ 

     

    Her Royal fryness! Kate and William visit a ‘fish fry’ in the Bahamas to sample local delicacies including aphrodisiac ‘conch pistol’ and embrace excited fans on the last day of their Caribbean tour

    By Rebecca English, Royal Editor, Jonathan Rose and Lizzie May for MailOnline

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited a fish fry today with Kate, in a pink Rixo dress, trying local delicacy ‘conch pistol’ – said to have the same effect as viagra.

    Kate held up the strip of flesh, which comes from the inside of the conch – and is commonly said to be the conch’s male genitalia – before putting it in her mouth to gain a round of applause from the crowds.

    The Duchess said: ‘I’m a little bit more adventurous than William is.’ As the pair joked around, he said: ‘I can handle it.’ 

    Their final stop on the island of Abaco saw The Duke and Duchess visit a Fish Fry – a quintessentially Bahamian culinary gathering place which is found on every island in The Bahamas.  

    She added that she had already tried conch fritters but had yet to try conch salad. She then got hold of a knife and helped stall owner Jade ‘Kow’ Adderley, 39, who owns the ‘Kow Conch Stall’.

    They were offered conch salad. William said: ‘Ladies first,’ before Kate tried it and said: ‘Delicious’.

    Mr Adderley said: ‘She was a good helper. I’d like her to stay and help me at the stall.’

    William then made an impromptu stop at a bar. He slapped the bar top and said: ‘This is my stop!’

    William was offered a Gullywash – coconut juice with condensed milk. He seemed to enjoy it and joked: ‘You guys talk amongst yourself I’m staying here.’

    They moved on to stalls by the beach where vendors were selling handbags and homemade honey.

    While talking to stall owner Kimberly Roberts, 49, of Abaco Ceramics, William looked at the honey for sale in jars on the table then pointed to Kate and said: ‘Catherine has bees at home.’

    They then tried some lobster salad at the Island Fusion streetfood stall before moving on to a walkabout to greet local people.

    The Duke and Duchess shook hands with well wishers and spoke to people about the effects of the hurricane. William turned own the chance to hold a baby but agreed to pose next to it.

    They also met Stephen Gardiner, a Bahamian 400m Olympic champion. 

    It comes after they visited a church in the Bahamas that has been rebuilt after it was destroyed during Hurricane Dorian in 2019 as their Caribbean tour comes to a close. 

    The couple also went to Abaco’s Memorial Wall to remember the many victims of the hurricane. The Duchess laid flowers and they paused for a moment’s silence.

    John Pinder, an Abaco MP, told them the British were some of the first to arrive with aid in the immediate aftermath and that they would never forget it.

    He added: ‘Abaconians far and wide look forward to a friendship with Great Britain for many, many, many years to come.’

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited a fish fry today with Kate, in a pink Rixo dress, trying local delicacy ‘conch pistol’ – said to have the same effect as viagra

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited a fish fry today with Kate, in a pink Rixo dress, trying local delicacy ‘conch pistol’ – said to have the same effect as viagra

    She held up the strip of flesh, which comes from the inside of the conch and is commonly said to be the conch’s male genitalia, before putting it in her mouth to applause from the crowds 

    The Duke and Duchess shook hands with well wishers and spoke to people about the effects of the hurricane. William turned own the chance to hold a baby but agreed to pose next to it

    The Duke and Duchess shook hands with well wishers and spoke to people about the effects of the hurricane. William turned own the chance to hold a baby but agreed to pose next to it

    The Duke and Duchess shook hands with well wishers and spoke to people about the effects of the hurricane. William turned own the chance to hold a baby but agreed to pose next to it

    Kate said: ‘I’m a little bit more adventurous than William is.’ As the pair joked around, he said: ‘I can handle it’

    Kate said: ‘I’m a little bit more adventurous than William is.’ As the pair joked around, he said: ‘I can handle it’ 

    She added that she had already tried conch fritters but had yet to try conch salad. She then got hold of a knife and helped stall owner Jade ‘Kow’ Adderley, 39, who owns the ‘Kow Conch Stall’

    She added that she had already tried conch fritters but had yet to try conch salad. She then got hold of a knife and helped stall owner Jade ‘Kow’ Adderley, 39, who owns the ‘Kow Conch Stall’ 

    They were offered conch salad. William said: ‘Ladies first,’ before Kate tried it and said: ‘Delicious’

    They were offered conch salad. William said: ‘Ladies first,’ before Kate tried it and said: ‘Delicious’

    Mr Adderley said: ‘She was a good helper. I’d like her to stay and help me at the stall’

    Mr Adderley said: ‘She was a good helper. I’d like her to stay and help me at the stall’

    Kate appeared to enjoy the strip of flesh, which comes from the inside of the conch, as she smiled while eating it

    Kate appeared to enjoy the strip of flesh, which comes from the inside of the conch, as she smiled while eating it

    They then tried some lobster salad at the Island Fusion streetfood stall before moving on to a walkabout to greet local people

    They then tried some lobster salad at the Island Fusion streetfood stall before moving on to a walkabout to greet local people 

    They moved on to stalls by the beach where vendors were selling handbags and homemade honey

    They moved on to stalls by the beach where vendors were selling handbags and homemade honey

    William then made an impromptu stop at a bar. He slapped the bar top and said: ‘This is my stop!’

    William then made an impromptu stop at a bar. He slapped the bar top and said: ‘This is my stop!’

    William was offered a Gullywash – coconut juice with condensed milk. He seemed to enjoy it and joked: ‘You guys talk amongst yourself I’m staying here’

    William was offered a Gullywash – coconut juice with condensed milk. He seemed to enjoy it and joked: ‘You guys talk amongst yourself I’m staying here’ 

    The Duchess of Cambridge also cuts vegetables and prepared fish during a visit to a Fish Fry in Abaco

    The Duchess of Cambridge also cuts vegetables and prepared fish during a visit to a Fish Fry in Abaco

    Kate was all smiles as she used a large knife to chop up the sea snail flesh and create a conch salad

    Kate was all smiles as she used a large knife to chop up the sea snail flesh and create a conch salad

    William engaged with several locals including a little girl whose hand he held as she stood next to a seated elderly lady

    William engaged with several locals including a little girl whose hand he held as she stood next to a seated elderly lady

    Kate held hands with an elderly lady and a young while kneeling down near metal barriers

    Kate held hands with an elderly lady and a young while kneeling down near metal barriers

    Kate beamed as she posed up a storm smiling with countless locals for photos, including a number of small children

    Kate beamed as she posed up a storm smiling with countless locals for photos, including a number of small children 

    Children hold signs saying 'Will' and 'Kate' as well wishers line the streets of Great Abaco in The Bahamas

    Children hold signs saying ‘Will’ and ‘Kate’ as well wishers line the streets of Great Abaco in The Bahamas

    Kate crouched down and spoke to a local girl who was dressed to the nines in a stunning princess outfit

    Kate crouched down and spoke to a local girl who was dressed to the nines in a stunning princess outfit

    One local girl allowed Kate to have a look at the photo she had taken with her Nikon camera

    One local girl allowed Kate to have a look at the photo she had taken with her Nikon camera

    They also met Stephen Gardiner, a Bahamian 400m Olympic champion

    They also met Stephen Gardiner, a Bahamian 400m Olympic champion

    Well wishers lined the streets, many waving the Bahamian flag, as they attempted to get a glimpse of William and Kate

    Well wishers lined the streets, many waving the Bahamian flag, as they attempted to get a glimpse of William and Kate

    The couple were all smiles as they left their hotel this morning on their way to the church Abaco – a chain of islands in the northern Bahamas which was dramatically hit by Hurricane Dorian with winds of up to 185mph and left devastation in its wake.

    It damaged 75 per cent of homes across the chain of islands and resulted in tragic loss of life.

    Prince William and Kate will travel to Abaco’s main island to learn about the impact of the hurricane and to see how communities are still being rebuilt more than two years on. 

    It comes as Prince William delivered a speech in which he said he insisted that any decision by Jamaica, Belize and The Bahamas to break away from the British monarchy and become republics will be supported with ‘pride and respect’ in a landmark speech alongside his wife Kate at a glittering state reception.

    Today, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the Daystar Evangelical Church which suffered terrible damage during Hurricane Dorian in 2019.

    During their visit, on the final day of their Caribbean tour, they heard first-hand what it was like to be on the island at the point the hurricane hit, and how people have come together to support each other during an incredibly difficult time. 

    The Cambridges then moved on to pay their respects to the victims of Hurricane Dorian by laying a wreath at Abaco’s Memorial Wall. 

    Kate opted for a £254 pink midi gown by much-loved brand Rixo for the occasion, which featured a button-down collar and subtle animal print design.

    She paired the shirt dress with a matching £370 clutch bag by Emmy London and £160 wedge heels by Spanish brand Castañer. 

    In a speech last night, Prince William recalled holidaying in the Bahamas with his late mother Princess Diana in 1993, reminiscing on memories made in the vivid blue waters of Nassau in the Bahamas.

    The Caribbean was a favourite holiday destination of Prince Diana, particularly after her separation from the Prince of Wales. (Pictured: Diana, far left, with William in the island of St Kitts in 1993)

    The Caribbean was a favourite holiday destination of Prince Diana, particularly after her separation from the Prince of Wales. (Pictured: Diana, far left, with William in the island of St Kitts in 1993)

    He remembered snorkelling around the ‘James Bond wrecks’ with mother Diana, describing it as the ‘best holiday ever’ – and it seems the pair are planning on returning with their three children.

    The three-day trip to the picturesque nation of 700 islands has had such an effect on William and Kate that they have vowed to bring George, Charlotte and Louis back one day, MailOnline understands.

    After spending the last two nights at The Cove luxury resort on Paradise Island, where they have been ensconced in the three-bedroom 4830ft Penthouse Suite with floor-to-ceiling windows and wrap-around ocean views, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been FaceTiming their children to share the experience, a source said.  

    Relaxed and chatty, the couple were overheard thanking staff for everything they had done for them, telling them the hotel was ‘wonderful’, the food ‘amazing’ and that they ‘couldn’t wait to come back with their children’.

    ‘They said they have FaceTimed their children to show them the views, which blew them away, and that they can’t wait to come back with them,’ a source said. 

    ‘Hopefully William will be able to created the same happy memories with his family, that his own mother did with him’.

    The Caribbean was a favourite holiday destination of Prince Diana, particularly after her separation from the Prince of Wales.

    She would often take William there with his brother, Harry, and almost 30 years ago she whisked them to the five-bedroom Casuarina Beach in the Bahamas.

    Situated in Lyford Cay, a gated community on the western tip of New Providence Island, they stayed as guests of Kate Menzies of the newsagent millionaire Menzies family, and accompanied by Andrew Charlton, a lifelong friend of Prince William, and Catherine and Harry Soames, the family of politician Nicholas Soames.

    The group flew to the Bahamas from Florida, where they had spent two days at Walt Disney World and visited the set location for ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.’

    Lyford Cay is one of the Bahamas’ most exclusive communities, with neighbours including Sean Connery and the Bacardi family.

    The Duke of Cambridge played a madcap game of football with a group of young boys from the Grand Bahama Children’s Home as his Caribbean tour drew to a close.

    William took a shine to a 13-year-old who used a wheelchair, and when he asked the boy what he wanted to do the youngster replied, ‘play soccer’ and they head towards two goals.

    The future king was visiting the centre with wife Kate to meet the youngsters in the home’s extensive garden and learn about their lives.

    The duke and his new found friend were quickly joined by other small boys and at one stage there were four footballs on the pitch whizzing around with William in goal.

    Next on the 13-year-old’s list was a nearby swing and slide and he was pushed by the duke in their direction – William later quipped ‘He knows that’ll say yes.’

    As the 13-year-old and two other boys swing up in the air a concern duke smiled but said: ‘These swings are very high guys, please don’t fall off.’

    The Grand Bahama Children’s Home provides a loving home environment to vulnerable children who are not able to live with their families.

    Since it was established in 1977 by the local community, the home has cared for over 900 children and now looks after around 30 children ranging from one to seventeen.

    When the Cambridges first arrived they sat at large table covered in a colourful mosaic design, and with some of the younger children filled in the final pieces.

    Kate asked one little girl dressed in a pink tutu and tiara ‘Is that going to fit in?’ and said ‘yes’ as the youngster slotted the piece of ceramic home, adding: ‘You look very lovely I love your tiara’.

    They also unveiled a plaque outside the entrance of The Grand Bahamas Children’s Home.

    Prince William and Duchess Kate met children during a visit to the Grand Bahama Children's Home which provides a loving home environment to vulnerable children who are not able to live with their families, in Freeport, Bahamas

    Prince William and Duchess Kate met children during a visit to the Grand Bahama Children’s Home which provides a loving home environment to vulnerable children who are not able to live with their families, in Freeport, Bahamas

    When the Cambridges first arrived they sat at large table covered in a colourful mosaic design, and with some of the younger children filled in the final pieces

    When the Cambridges first arrived they sat at large table covered in a colourful mosaic design, and with some of the younger children filled in the final pieces 

    Prince William pushed the swings for children at the Grand Bahama Children's Home

    Prince William pushed the swings for children at the Grand Bahama Children’s Home

    Located on the island of Grand Bahama, the children's home was established in 1977 by the local community and has cared for over 900 children in the past 45 years (Prince William pushing the swings at the home)

    Located on the island of Grand Bahama, the children’s home was established in 1977 by the local community and has cared for over 900 children in the past 45 years (Prince William pushing the swings at the home)

    The Prince watched on as children played on the swing set playground at the children's home in Freeport, Bahamas

    The Prince watched on as children played on the swing set playground at the children’s home in Freeport, Bahamas

    The Duke and Duchess spent time with the children and heard from staff (pictured) about how they provide a safe and secure environment which gives vital support to vulnerable children on the island

    The Duke and Duchess spent time with the children and heard from staff (pictured) about how they provide a safe and secure environment which gives vital support to vulnerable children on the island

    William took a shine to a 13-year-old who used a wheelchair, and when he asked the boy what he wanted to do the youngster replied, 'play soccer' and they head towards two goals

    William took a shine to a 13-year-old who used a wheelchair, and when he asked the boy what he wanted to do the youngster replied, ‘play soccer’ and they head towards two goals

    The future king was visiting the centre with wife Kate to meet the youngsters in the home’s extensive garden and learn about their lives

    The future king was visiting the centre with wife Kate to meet the youngsters in the home’s extensive garden and learn about their lives

    The duke and his new found friend were quickly joined by other small boys and at one stage there were four footballs on the pitch whizzing around with William in goal

    Prince William pictured playing football with some of the children

    The duke and his new found friend were quickly joined by other small boys and at one stage there were four footballs on the pitch whizzing around with William in goal 

    Kate asked one little girl dressed in a pink tutu and tiara 'Is that going to fit in?' and said 'yes' as the youngster slotted the piece of ceramic home, adding: 'You look very lovely I love your tiara'

    Kate asked one little girl dressed in a pink tutu and tiara ‘Is that going to fit in?’ and said ‘yes’ as the youngster slotted the piece of ceramic home, adding: ‘You look very lovely I love your tiara’

    The Grand Bahama Children’s Home provides a loving home environment to vulnerable children who are not able to live with their families

    Kate pictured interacting with a young child

    The Grand Bahama Children’s Home provides a loving home environment to vulnerable children who are not able to live with their families. Since it was established in 1977 by the local community, the home has cared for over 900 children and now looks after around 30 children ranging from one to seventeen. Kate pictured interacting with a young child

    The Duchess of Cambridge interacts with a child during a visit to Grand Bahama Children's Home, on day eight of their tour of the Caribbean on behalf of the Queen to mark her Platinum Jubilee

    The Duchess of Cambridge interacts with a child during a visit to Grand Bahama Children’s Home, on day eight of their tour of the Caribbean on behalf of the Queen to mark her Platinum Jubilee

    Kate and William looked relaxed in as they walked to the Fish Fry, a quintessentially Bahamian culinary gathering place

    Kate and William looked relaxed in as they walked to the Fish Fry, a quintessentially Bahamian culinary gathering place

    Kate opted for a £254 pink midi gown by much-loved brand Rixo for the occasion, which featured a button-down collar and subtle animal print design

    She paired the shirt dress with a matching £370 clutch bag by Emmy London and £160 wedge heels by Spanish brand Castañer

    Kate opted for a £254 pink midi gown by much-loved brand Rixo for the occasion, which featured a button-down collar and subtle animal print design. She paired the shirt dress with a matching £370 clutch bag by Emmy London and £160 wedge heels by Spanish brand Castañer

    Kate picks a flower and hands it to a young boy as she speaks with children during a visit to Great Abaco, Bahamas, to remember the victims of Hurricane Dorian 

    The Duke also got to show off his parental touch as he gives a high-five to a young boy as the royals mingled with those who had gathered to greet them

    The Duke also got to show off his parental touch as he gives a high-five to a young boy as the royals mingled with those who had gathered to greet them

    The Duke and Duchess stand over the Abaco Memorial Wall as they pay tribute to the victims of Hurricane Dorian which ripped through the island with 185mph winds

    The Duke and Duchess stand over the Abaco Memorial Wall as they pay tribute to the victims of Hurricane Dorian which ripped through the island with 185mph winds

    Pictured: Kate delicately lays a wreath at the foot of the Abaco Memorial Wall as William watches on

    Pictured: Kate delicately lays a wreath at the foot of the Abaco Memorial Wall as William watches on

    Kate carried a beautiful wreath before placing it at the foot of the Abaco Memorial Wall

    Kate carried a beautiful wreath before placing it at the foot of the Abaco Memorial Wall

    Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrive at Abaco's Memorial Wall on Saturday

    Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrive at Abaco’s Memorial Wall on Saturday

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are warmly greeted by officials as they arrived at Daystar Evangelical Church in the Bahamas

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are warmly greeted by officials as they arrived at Daystar Evangelical Church in the Bahamas

    The Cambridges were shown around the area by church leaders. Hurrican Dorian's 185mph winds ripped through Great Abaco in 2019, damaging three quarters of the homes in the area

    The Cambridges were shown around the area by church leaders. Hurrican Dorian’s 185mph winds ripped through Great Abaco in 2019, damaging three quarters of the homes in the area

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to Daystar Evangelical Church Abaco in The Bahamas, to learn about the impact of Hurricane Dorian in 2019. Pictured with one of the church leaders

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to Daystar Evangelical Church Abaco in The Bahamas, to learn about the impact of Hurricane Dorian in 2019. Pictured with one of the church leaders

    The Duke of Cambridge speaks to locals in Abaco, which was dramatically hit by Hurricane Dorian which saw winds of up to 185mph and left devastation in its wake

    The Duke of Cambridge speaks to locals in Abaco, which was dramatically hit by Hurricane Dorian which saw winds of up to 185mph and left devastation in its wake

    Pastor Mills pointed to the place where one of the church’s historic buildings had once stood, explaining how it been completely destroyed.

    ‘We had three buildings on this property that survived many, many hurricanes going back to hurricane Betsy of 1965, Hurricane Floyd of 1999,’ he said ahead of the royals’ arrival.

    ‘But the facility was no match for hurricane Dorian. It was a Category Five monster storm that had waves crashing the roof of this building. The water was very much up to the ceiling in here.

    ‘It washed everything out and it just destroyed so much history that was here. The building that was here was built in 1952. It was a wooden building built out of Abaco pine, and we kept it here and remodelled it to maintain its historic values, but Dorian swept it off its foundation.’

    Residents were locked down for months, he said, and the NGOs could not get in because of flooding, and later, the pandemic, severely delaying recovery efforts.

    PastorMills said some members of the community remained displaced, two-and-a-half years later.

    ‘It’s been difficult,’ he added. ‘And some people have been traumatised to the extent that they’re still seeing doctors.’

    The church building remains unusable, with windows still blown out and chunks of concrete wall missing.

    Pastor Mills said they did not have the insurance needed to rebuild and that the focus has been on helping those who had lost their homes.

    They are now looking to donors to rebuild the church so it can be used by the community.

    Pastor Mills said it still ‘felt like a dream’ to have the Duke and Duchess visit.

    ‘The fact that they would want to come to a place that provides spiritual guidance and a place where people come to pray speaks volumes of their concern for humanity,’ he said.

    Among those who met the royal couple were Ian Fair 74, a private banker from Somerset, and his partner Deborah Jones-holt 49, from Yorkshire.

    Mr Fair, a founding chairman of the Bahamian stock exchange, came to the Bahamas in 1969 on a two year work contract and never left.

    He presented the church with a $15,000 donation that will be used to refurbish the inside.

    Mr Fair, whose two sons-in-law were on Abaco when the hurricane hit, said he believed it had set the island back 25 years.

    Pastor Mills pointed to the place where one of the church’s historic buildings had once stood, explaining how it been completely destroyed

    Pastor Mills pointed to the place where one of the church’s historic buildings had once stood, explaining how it been completely destroyed

    'We had three buildings on this property that survived many, many hurricanes going back to hurricane Betsy of 1965, Hurricane Floyd of 1999,' he said ahead of the royals’ arrival'

    ‘We had three buildings on this property that survived many, many hurricanes going back to hurricane Betsy of 1965, Hurricane Floyd of 1999,’ he said ahead of the royals’ arrival’

    'But the facility was no match for hurricane Dorian. It was a Category Five monster storm that had waves crashing the roof of this building. The water was very much up to the ceiling in here'

    ‘But the facility was no match for hurricane Dorian. It was a Category Five monster storm that had waves crashing the roof of this building. The water was very much up to the ceiling in here’

    'It washed everything out and it just destroyed so much history that was here. The building that was here was built in 1952. It was a wooden building built out of Abaco pine, and we kept it here and remodelled it to maintain its historic values, but Dorian swept it off its foundation'

    ‘It washed everything out and it just destroyed so much history that was here. The building that was here was built in 1952. It was a wooden building built out of Abaco pine, and we kept it here and remodelled it to maintain its historic values, but Dorian swept it off its foundation’

    Residents were locked down for months, he said, and the NGOs could not get in because of flooding, and later, the pandemic, severely delaying recovery efforts

    Residents were locked down for months, he said, and the NGOs could not get in because of flooding, and later, the pandemic, severely delaying recovery efforts

    PastorMills said some members of the community remained displaced, two-and-a-half years later

    PastorMills said some members of the community remained displaced, two-and-a-half years later

    'It's been difficult,' he added. 'And some people have been traumatised to the extent that they're still seeing doctors'

    ‘It’s been difficult,’ he added. ‘And some people have been traumatised to the extent that they’re still seeing doctors’

    The pair will learn about the impact of the hurricane and to see how communities are still being rebuilt more than two years on

    Kate cut a radiant figure in her all-pink matching ensemble as she arrived in Great Abaco on Saturday morning

    The duchess opted for a £254 pink midi gown by much-loved brand Rixo for the occasion, which featured a button-down collar and subtle animal print design

    Kate cut a radiant figure in her all-pink matching ensemble as she arrived in Great Abaco on Saturday morning

    She paired the shirt dress with a matching £370 clutch bag by Emmy London and £160 wedge heels by Spanish brand Castañer

    She paired the shirt dress with a matching £370 clutch bag by Emmy London and £160 wedge heels by Spanish brand Castañer

    Pictured: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting a church in the Bahamas that has been rebuilt after it was destroyed during Hurricane Dorian in 2019 as their Caribbean tour comes to a close

    Pictured: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting a church in the Bahamas that has been rebuilt after it was destroyed during Hurricane Dorian in 2019 as their Caribbean tour comes to a close

    During their visit, on the final day of their Caribbean tour, they will hear first-hand what it was like to be on the island at the point the hurricane hit, and how people have come together to support each other during an incredibly difficult time

     During their visit, on the final day of their Caribbean tour, they will hear first-hand what it was like to be on the island at the point the hurricane hit, and how people have come together to support each other during an incredibly difficult time

    Prince William and Kate shake hands with officials as the final leg of their Caribbean tour gets underway on Saturday

    Prince William and Kate shake hands with officials as the final leg of their Caribbean tour gets underway on Saturday

    Prince William and Kate will travel to Abaco’s main island to learn about the impact of Hurricane Dorian in 2019

    Prince William and Kate will travel to Abaco’s main island to learn about the impact of Hurricane Dorian in 2019

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shake hands with officials as they arrive on Abaco's main island for their final day

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shake hands with officials as they arrive on Abaco’s main island for their final day 

    The couple listen on as religious leaders and local officials reveal the devastating toll of Hurricane Dorian in 2019

    The couple listen on as religious leaders and local officials reveal the devastating toll of Hurricane Dorian in 2019

    Kate

    Kate

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting communities in Abaco to see how they have been rebuilt two years on. Pictured: Kate Middleton at Daystar Evangelical Church

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting Belize, Jamaica and The Bahamas on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen on the occasion of the Platinum Jubilee. Their eight-day trip marks their first joint official overseas tour since the onset of COVID-19

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting Belize, Jamaica and The Bahamas on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen on the occasion of the Platinum Jubilee. Their eight-day trip marks their first joint official overseas tour since the onset of COVID-19

    The Cambridges are a picture of sombre concentration as they hear about the devastation of Hurricane Dorian in 2019

    The Cambridges are a picture of sombre concentration as they hear about the devastation of Hurricane Dorian in 2019

    Large crowds had gathered long in advance to get a sneak peek at the Cambridges before they arrived in Great Abaco

    The pair are at Daystar Evangelical Church to hear first-hand what it was like to be on the island at the point the hurricane hit, and how people have come together to support each other during an incredibly difficult time

    Large crowds had gathered long in advance to get a sneak peek at the Cambridges before they arrived in Great Abaco

    Kate is pictured arriving at Daystar Evangelical Church where she will hear about the devastation wrought by the 185mph winds of Hurricane Dorian on the island

    The Duchess of Cambridge cut a graceful figure in a pastel pink midi dress this afternoon as she visited a church on the final day of her week-long Caribbean tour

    The Duchess of Cambridge cut a graceful figure in a pastel pink midi dress this afternoon as she visited a church on the final day of her week-long Caribbean tour

    Once again keeping her look simple, Kate opted for minimal jewellery, and wore her sleek brown tresses in loose waves

    Once again keeping her look simple, Kate opted for minimal jewellery, and wore her sleek brown tresses in loose waves

    Their Caribbean trip marks the first official royal overseas engagement by the Cambridges since the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020

    Their Caribbean trip marks the first official royal overseas engagement by the Cambridges since the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020

    The Cambridges are hearing the first-hand experiences of clergy leaders and locals who lived through Hurricane Dorian

    The Cambridges are hearing the first-hand experiences of clergy leaders and locals who lived through Hurricane Dorian

    Prince William and Kate peer out of the window of the destroyed Daystar Evangelical Church as they tour the Bahamas on the last leg of their Caribbean tour

    Prince William and Kate peer out of the window of the destroyed Daystar Evangelical Church as they tour the Bahamas on the last leg of their Caribbean tour

    Pictured is the damaged Daystar Evangelical Church prior to the arrival of Prince William, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

    Pictured is the damaged Daystar Evangelical Church prior to the arrival of Prince William, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

    Pictured: An officer of the Royal Bahamas Police Force stands guard outside the rebuilt Daystar Evangelical Church

    Pictured: An officer of the Royal Bahamas Police Force stands guard outside the rebuilt Daystar Evangelical Church

    Yesterday, Prince William and Kate greeted crowds and local fishermen as they walked along Montagu Bay in New Providence on the final stop of their Caribbean tour to mark the Queen‘s Platinum Jubilee

    The sailing regattas in The Bahamas is one of the first that has taken place since the start of the Covid pandemic and both William and Kate pitched in as they raced each other in separate yachts. 

    In a video shared on their Instagram, the couple thanked the teams for their hospitality and for enduring the poor weather.

    In the choppy waters, the duke sailed to victory in a race against Kate today during a rain-affected regatta in The Bahamas to celebrate the Queen’s jubilee. 

    William set sail in an iconic Bahamian sloop named the Susan Chase, whilst Kate boarded a vessel named the Ants Nest II. She also sported a white cap once she was on board with her crew mates that had the boat’s name on in red writing.   

    His boat came in about five minutes ahead of four others including one featuring the Duchess of Cambridge, who suffered the ignominy of coming in last with her crew.

    It was a second consecutive victory for William, who beat his wife in the King’s Cup charity regatta off the Isle of Wight in 2019 when they last raced on the water. On that occasion her boat was disqualified. 

    Kate triumphed when the ultra competitive couple raced yachts in New Zealand in 2014.

    Earlier, Kate was pictured holding a newborn baby during a royal walkabout with Prince William as the couple continued their protest-hit tour of the Caribbean with a visit to a school in the Bahamas amid torrential downpours.

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge revealed their competitive side during a boat race as they took park in 'a very special regatta' in the Bahamas ahead of their final day in the Caribbean. Pictured: Kate gets stuck in despite the rainy weather

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge revealed their competitive side during a boat race as they took park in ‘a very special regatta’ in the Bahamas ahead of their final day in the Caribbean. Pictured: Kate gets stuck in despite the rainy weather

    William set sail in an iconic Bahamian sloop named the Susan Chase, whilst Kate boarded a vessel named the Ants Nest II

    William set sail in an iconic Bahamian sloop named the Susan Chase, whilst Kate boarded a vessel named the Ants Nest II

    William and Kate wave to excited crowds as they attend The Bahamas Platinum Jubilee Sailing Regatta at Montagu Bay

    William and Kate wave to excited crowds as they attend The Bahamas Platinum Jubilee Sailing Regatta at Montagu Bay

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their way to attend The Bahamas Platinum Jubilee Sailing Regatta at Montagu Bay

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their way to attend The Bahamas Platinum Jubilee Sailing Regatta at Montagu Bay

    Safety first: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge don life jackets during the regatta in the Bahamas yesterday afternoon

    Safety first: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge don life jackets during the regatta in the Bahamas yesterday afternoon

    Kate sported a white cap once she was on board with her crew mates that had the boat's name on in red writing

    Kate sported a white cap once she was on board with her crew mates that had the boat’s name on in red writing

    Kate Middleton was in hysterics with crew members, as they all wore hats of the vessel's name Ants Nest II

    Kate Middleton was in hysterics with crew members, as they all wore hats of the vessel’s name Ants Nest II

    The royal couple greeted crowds who gathered in Parliament Square before attending the colourful Junkanoo Carnival in Nassau to celebrate the monarch’s Platinum Jubilee alongside the Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Philip Davis, and his wife Ann-Marie.

    Kate was pictured speaking to a mother in the crowd and cradling her baby’s head before the iconic street parade, which featured locals wearing colourful costumes and dancing to music. 

    It comes as Prince William signalled that any decision by Jamaica, Belize and The Bahamas to break away from the British monarchy and become republics will be supported with ‘pride and respect’ in a landmark speech alongside his wife Kate at a glittering state reception.

    On the sixth day of their tour of the Caribbean yesterday, the future king said the Royal Family ‘respect the decisions’ of countries like The Bahamas, Jamaica and Belize when it comes to their future in a nod to the critical ‘colonialism’ commentary and protests that accompanied welcoming crowds.

    Since beginning their tour to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the Cambridges were greeted like rock stars by the public – but politicians, including the prime minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness, used meetings to make clear in public they will push for the island to be a republic with a referendum this year.

    Critical royal observers led by by Meghan’s cheerleader-in-chief Omid Scobie and BBC royal correspondent Jonny Dymond made claims of a series of ‘tone deaf’ PR moments that smacked of ‘colonialism’ – leading to more social media criticism despite the couple’s warm welcome on the ground.

    The royal couple have attended a reception hosted by the Governor-General during which they will have the opportunity to meet community leaders and notable people from across The Bahamas’ many islands

    The royal couple have attended a reception hosted by the Governor-General during which they will have the opportunity to meet community leaders and notable people from across The Bahamas’ many islands

    Speaking at the black-tie reception hosted by the Governor General of the Bahamas, Sir Cornelius Alvin Smith, William said: ‘Next year, I know you are all looking forward to celebrating fifty years of independence – your Golden Anniversary.

    ‘And with Jamaica celebrating 60 years of independence this year, and Belize celebrating 40 years of independence last year, I want to say this: We support with pride and respect your decisions about your future.

    ‘Relationships evolve. Friendship endures.’

    At the evening reception, the Duchess of Cambridge stepped out in a stunning Grace-Kelly style gown that looked worlds away from this afternoon’s wet yachting regatta.

    They received one of the warmest welcomes of their tour as they mingled with eminent Bahamians from the fields of culture, law, religion, business, medicine and politics.

    Before they left William and Kate were presented with a model of a sloop sailing boat similar to the one they sailed on earlier in the day.

    The roses on the dress of guest Mildred Murphy caught Kate’s eye and she complimented her. ‘She said I looked amazing and I said the roses were for the flower of England. She said she loved visiting the school today and said how well the children behaved and how nice it was for her to have that experience.’ 

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