The royal tour, which came to an end on Saturday, was criticized as being “tone-deaf” for perpetuating images of Britain’s colonial rule. Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness told the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge that his country intended to become a republic, removing the British monarch as its head of state.
“It was certainly more challenging than expected given the protests,” a palace insider told Us Weekly on Wednesday. “They obviously know the history, but being there during the protests was a real eye-opener.”
The source claimed that since returning to London, the couple has begun thinking of ways to “strengthen their relationship” with other leaders within the Commonwealth while “working closely with former colonies.”
“They can’t change what has happened in the past, so they are focused on the future,” the source told the outlet.
The insider also claimed that the duke and duchess “have organized a meeting with the palace to discuss their intentions and will put their point across even if it means being at odds with The Firm.”
“They want what is right for the people,” the insider added.
Before their tour came to an end, William released an unprecedented 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,” said the 39-year-old, who is second in line to the British throne.
“In Belize, Jamaica and The Bahamas, that future is for the people to decide upon,” said William.
“Foreign tours are an opportunity to reflect,” he shared. “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… 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,” William 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. 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 as we can.”
The young royals visited the three nations as representatives of Queen Elizabeth II, who celebrates the 70th anniversary of her reign this year. During those seven decades, she has been the head of state for the United Kingdom and 14 “realms” that were once colonies of the British Empire and are now independent countries.
The royal couple was greeted by protesters demanding an apology for the role Britain played in the enslavement of millions of Africans and reparations for the damage caused by slavery. During a speech in Jamaica, William expressed his “profound sorrow” for slavery but stopped short of offering an apology.
William recognized the changing nature of the connections between Britain and its former colonies during a speech Friday night in Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas.
“We support with pride and respect your decisions about your future,” William said. “Relationships evolve. Friendship endures.”
Whatever the former colonies decide about their continuing relationship with the crown, William said he wanted to continue serving them through the Commonwealth, a voluntary association of 54 countries with historical links to Britain. The queen has been head of the Commonwealth throughout her reign and Prince Charles, William’s father, is her designated successor.
The couple’s trip to Belize also suffered a hitch when a planned visit to a cacao farm in Belize was scrapped because of local opposition.
According to local reports, a protest was staged opposing the royal visit to Akte ’il Ha cacao farm in Indian Creek village in the foothills of the Maya Mountains. Belize news outlet Channel 7 reported that there is a dispute between village residents and Flora and Fauna International, a conservation charity William supports as a patron.
A spokesperson from Kensington Palace told Fox News Digital that “due to sensitive issues involving the community in Indian Creek, the visit has been moved to a different location.”
In November, Charles denounced the “atrocity of slavery” and Britain’s legacy of the slave trade as Barbados removed his mother, the queen, as head of state.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.