Prince William addressed he and Kate Middleton’s controversial tour of the Caribbean in a speech on Wednesday, calling the trip “an opportunity to reflect.”
He spoke at the unveiling of a statue to mark Windrush Day, which honors Afro-Caribbean immigrants who came to England in the years after World War II. The day of observance recognizes the immigrants who faced ― and continue to face ― overwhelming hardships and racist, discriminatory practices in the UK.
The duke spoke of those in the Windrush generation who were “wronged” by the way they were treated and “were victims of racism when they arrived here.”
Discrimination “remains an all-too-familiar experience for Black men and women in Britain in 2022,” he said, according to The Independent.
The Duke of Cambridge said that his family “have been proud to celebrate this [day] for decades” as “people from all communities and backgrounds came together to acknowledge all that has changed over the past seventy years and look to the future.”
He said this “resonated with Catherine and me after our visit to the Caribbean earlier this year,” referring to a trip he and his wife made in March to Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas. They were met with resistance to their visit throughout their travels.
“Our trip was an opportunity to reflect, and we learnt so much,” he added. “Not just about the different issues that matter most to the people of the region, but also how the past weighs heavily on the present.”
During the couple’s tour of the Commonwealth realms, where Queen Elizabeth remains head of state, the royals faced protests, continued talk of republicanism, and demands to address slavery, reparations and colonialism.
At a meeting in Jamaica, Prime Minister Andrew Holness told William that the country intends to follow in Barbados’ footsteps and become a republic, which would mean replacing the queen as head of state. A politician in Belize also broached the subject of Belize moving toward conducting “consultations across the country on the continuing decolonisation process.”
William addressed the backlash that the Cambridges faced on the trip in a message posted as they made their way home.
“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,” the duke said at the time.
“Catherine and I are committed to service,” he continued. “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.”
While the Duke of Cambridge spoke about racism in his Windrush Day speech, and has previously spoken out again racism in soccer, he has also had to address allegations of racism levied against the royal family during Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s bombshell interview with Oprah last year.
The Duke of Cambridge only had a short answer for reporters at the time, telling press that the royals were “very much not a racist family.”