Keir Starmer wades into row over Royal tour of Caribbean

Keir Starmer wades into row over Royal tour of Caribbean saying William ‘could have gone further’ condemning slavery and branding decision to ride with Kate in Land Rover used by Queen a ‘bit odd’

  • Labour’s Keir Starmer said Prince William could have gone further condemning slavery on 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

Keir Starmer waded into the row over the Royal tour of the Caribbean today saying Prince William ‘could have gone further’ in condemning slavery.

The Labour leader also branded the decision to ride with Kate in a Land Rover used by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh nearly 70 years ago a ‘bit odd’.

The Duke of Cambridge faced calls to issue a public apology for slavery during the tour, which was marked by a series of controversies around the UK’s colonial past.

The barrage of criticism during the eight-day tour ranged from accusations Belize locals were not consulted about a royal engagement to calls for slavery reparations from the monarchy in Jamaica.

William denounced slavery as ‘abhorrent’ and said ‘it should never have happened’ but Sir Keir suggested he might want to say more in future.

During an LBC phone-in, Sir Keir acknowledged the Duke and Duchess were trying to communicate a difficult message at a time when links to the monarchy are being reconsidered in Belize, the Bahamas and Jamaica.

‘William and Kate went on an important trip with important messages, including messages about the changing nature of the Commonwealth going forwards, and that is difficult,’ he said.

Using the Land Rover in Jamaica (left) was meant as a tribute to The Queen’s visit 60 years but was labelled a ‘throwback’. Right: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh wave from the back of an open Land Rover as they drive past long lines of children during a visit to the children’s rally at Sabina Park, Kingston in Jamaica in November 1953

Keir Starmer waded into the row over the Royal tour of the Caribbean today saying Prince William ‘could have gone further’ in condemning slavery

The Labour leader said it was a ‘bit odd’ for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to ride in the back of the same Land Rover that the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh used.

‘In a sense, what William and Kate were doing – which I applaud – is saying: ‘We’re looking to the future’, but that all harked of the past, so I didn’t quite see how that actually fit that well with the aim of their trip.’

William and Kate have vowed to rip up the Royal rule book and pursue ‘The Cambridge Way’ after their difficult tour of the Caribbean.

The couple are said to have hardened their view the Monarchy must be ‘agile’ to survive and thrive after a week-long tour to Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas was hit with protests.

They are believed to be ready to abandon the Queen and Prince Charles’s ‘never complain, never explain’ mantra in future.

Politicians hijacked their presence ahead of Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee to further their own campaigns to remove the Queen as head of state amid moments branded ‘tone deaf’ and smacking of ‘colonialism’.

The Prince held crisis talks with senior aides on his week-long tour around the Caribbean, telling advisers he had to add his own voice and confront issues of slavery reparations and anti monarchist sentiment.

Hours before their flight, he released a statement addressing republican sentiment in the three Caribbean countries, acknowledging it had ‘brought into even sharper focus questions about the past and the future’.

Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge wave goodbye as they boarded the royal aircraft to take them back to the UK after their week-long tour of the Caribbean 

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

A source told the Sun: ‘William and Kate will modernise how they work. It’s a breath of fresh air. They were bruised by attacks that their Caribbean trip harked back to the colonial age.

‘In future they will rip up the rule-book and do things ‘The Cambridge Way’. They’re trying to work out what that will look like. It is not a criticism of how it was done in the past. But times are changing.’ 

Critics highlighted photographs of the couple greeting the public through a wire fence in Kingston, which they said, struck a note of white privilege. They also cited footage of the couple riding in the Queen’s open-topped Land Rover that she used in Jamaica in the 1960s and 1990s.

One source made the point that William had privately expressed concern about how the Land Rover moment would be received several weeks before the tour. But he went along with it so as not to offend the Jamaica Defence Force, which owns the vehicle and is proud of its history.

Addressing growing republican sentiment, William said before boarding a plane home from the Bahamas on Saturday: ‘I know 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. Catherine and I are committed to service. It’s not about telling people what to do. 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.’

The source added that William was aware of the ‘commentary’ around the trip, including from the BBC. ‘William doesn’t follow social media but was aware of the commentary. He hadn’t read the BBC piece, for example, until he was shown it.

‘But he won’t publicly ignore it. He believes Her Majesty’s approach was right for the time, but he needs to be more reactionary and agile,’ they said.

The Daily Mail understands that William did not discuss what he intended to say with either the Queen or Charles first. Neither did his aides seek permission from their royal households, although they did alert them via WhatsApp in advance of his statement being released.

Another source stressed that this was not out of disrespect, but because William had a ‘growing confidence’ in the way he wanted things to be and what he had to say. 

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

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