Prince William Releases Unprecedented Statement About ‘Future’ of the Commonwealth as Caribbean Tour Ends

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Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to Daystar Evangelical Church on March 26, 2022 in Great Abaco, Bahamas. Abaco was dramatically hit by Hurricane Dorian, It damaged 75% of homes across the chain of islands and resulted in tragic loss of life. During their visit to the Church 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. 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. The 8 day tour takes place between Saturday 19th March and Saturday 26th March and is their first joint official overseas tour since the onset of COVID-19 in 2020.

Chris Jackson/Getty Prince William and Kate Middleton

As Prince William and Kate Middleton‘s tour of the Caribbean comes to an end on Saturday, the Duke of Cambridge has released a landmark statement, reflecting on the future governance of the Caribbean nations.

“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 says.

And, whatever the future holds for the countries William and Kate visited this week, the Duke of Cambridge reiterates his hope that the 54-nation Commonwealth — the voluntary body of mostly-former colonies loosely linked to Britain — 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 began his statement.

“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.

“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.

“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.

kate middleton and prince william

kate middleton and prince william

Chris Jackson/Getty Images Prince William and Kate Middleton

RELATED: Kate Middleton and Prince William Echo Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip on Final Outing in Jamaica

It has been a complex week for the royal couple. While they have met smiles and cheers wherever they have gone, there has also been an undercurrent of controversy. The tour has seen protests over colonialism and calls for dropping William’s grandmother Queen Elizabeth as head of state in Jamaica.

Earlier in the tour, and following protests in Jamaica, William, 39, expressed his “sorrow” at the “abhorrent” history of slavery that shames the U.K. — though for some, he didn’t go far enough and actually apologize.

On Friday night, William gave another speech, acknowledging that “relationships evolve” between the U.K. and the Caribbean countries, but “friendship endures.”

RELATED: The ‘Future of the British Monarchy Belongs with Prince William and Kate Middleton,’ Says Historian

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend a reception hosted by the Governor General at Baha Mar Resort on March 25, 2022 in Nassau, Bahamas.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend a reception hosted by the Governor General at Baha Mar Resort on March 25, 2022 in Nassau, Bahamas.

Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage Kate Middleton and Prince William

William’s statement on Saturday came as he and Kate concluded their eight-day tour with outings in The Bahamas. They visited islands still coping with the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, met locals and saw groundbreaking work being done to restore coral reefs.

Both William and Kate have been aware of the protests and the voices of opposition — as well as the calls for reparations for Britain’s role in the slave trade — and have been listening as they moved through the three countries this week.

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The statement was issued as the couple prepared for their final departure from the Bahamas to head back home to their children in time for Mother’s Day in the U.K.

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