The Earl and Countess of Wessex were met with protests demanding reparations for British colonialism on the second leg of their Caribbean tour.
Edward and Sophie initially received a cordial welcome on their visit to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, but a group of about 15 protesters displayed banners as they drove to the island’s seat of government on Saturday.
Banners on display included “End of Colonialism” and “Make Up Now”.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is the second destination of her week-long Caribbean tour. The royal couple visited St Lucia on Friday – days after the Grenada flight was postponed at 11.
The protests in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on Saturday come shortly after warnings from the Antigua and Barbuda Reparations Support Committee, which urged Edward and Sophie to avoid “false sanctity” due to slavery.
In an open letter to them, the organization said: “We hear the false reverence of your predecessors that these crimes are a ‘blot in your history’.”
For us, they are the source of genocide and the continuation of profound international harm, injustice and racism.
“End of Colonialism” and “Reparation Now” were written on the banners at a small demonstration against the visit of the Earl and Countess of Wessex in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Edward and Sophie initially received a cordial welcome on their visit to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (Pictured: The Wessex family visiting at Government House in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines)
The Countess of Wessex meets members of the La Gracia Dance Troupe at Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Community College on Saturday
A group of about 15 protesters (pictured) raised a banner reading “compensation now” as the Wessex family arrived at Government House in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on Saturday.
Despite a warm welcome, today’s visit came after another Caribbean country warned the couple to avoid “false hypocrisy” over slavery.
Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex welcomed jubilant spectators to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines today as they arrived at the second destination on their seven-day tour of the Caribbean
The red carpet was rolled out again as the Earl and Countess of Wessex arrived at Argyle International Airport on Saturday, as steel drums playing Bob Marley’s “One Love” greeted them on the island.
“Hope you will respect us by not repeating the mantra…we are not idiots.”
Other banners used at the protest on Saturday included “Down with neo-colonialism” and “Britain your debts are due”.
The demonstration comes shortly after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge came under fire for some elements of their recent Caribbean tour, believed to date back to colonial days.
Before the protest, Edward and Sophie took over the second red carpet and guard of honor for the tour after landing in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Saturday, as Scouts, Guides and students waved the national flag.
The Countess of Wessex for the visit chose a light pink dress that she wore with heeled sandals and a brightly colored suede bag. Sophie wore two gold bracelets, and kept her hair tied back in an elegant neckline.
The steel drums played by Bob Marley’s “One Love” were the backdrop to the couple’s official welcome to the island.
The reception for the couple was initially cordial, and a bouquet of flowers was presented by elementary school student Ashley Church.
Before standing on a stand observing a guard of honor, Edward the Governor-General greeted Mrs. Susan Duggan, followed by Acting Prime Minister Daniel Montgomery.
The couple made separate engagements for part of their one-day trip to the island.
Sophie, who wore a floral dress on Saturday, visited the community college, where she was greeted by La Gracia Dance Company.
Dancers, of all ages, gave the Countess a short performance of a song with lyrics such as “Welcome to Saint Vincent.”
She posed for pictures with the children before heading to a number of kiosks located next to the college theatre.
Then the countess met with representatives of two organizations – people with disabilities, and the association of the blind.
Sophie, Global Ambassador for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, included her as part of the timeline to continue her work advocating for the need for support and equality for the blind and visually impaired.
I also sat down with representatives of women’s groups and business leaders to hear about their experiences with last year’s eruption of La Soufriere.
As part of her goal to uphold the need for support and equality for the blind and the visually impaired, the Countess will meet with representatives of two organizations, Persons with Disabilities, and an association and for the blind.
Prince Edward during a ceremonial reception at Argyle International Airport in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Prince Edward resents a medal for one of the 100m and 70m sprint winners in honor of his platinum jubilee
The couple are set to plant a tree to celebrate the Queen’s 70th anniversary as Queen, before they hear about the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Throughout the day, the couple had separate engagements as part of their one-day trip to the island
Prince Edward visited the Island National Stadium where he met athletes training for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham
When the royal couple arrived in Argyll, Sophie was quick to greet groups of enthusiastic Scouts and Guides who lined up on the red carpet, all waving the colorful St. Vincent and the Grenadines flag.
At the same time, Edward visited the Island National Stadium where he met the athletes training for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Note two sprint races in honor of the Platinum Jubilee.
Earl also watched the end of the women’s T10 cricket match and met some of the netball and tennis teams in the country.
Later on Saturday, after the couple have lunched with the governor-general and acting prime minister of the islands, they will visit the botanical gardens.
The couple are set to plant a tree to celebrate 70 years of the Queen’s reign, before they hear about the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Prior to departure, Edward and Sophie will proceed to the Prime Minister’s Residence to meet with the Acting Prime Minister and members of the Cabinet.
The reception of the royal couple was very cordial, a bouquet of flowers was presented by elementary school student Ashley Church (above) upon arrival by plane
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is the second destination of her week-long Caribbean tour. The royal couple visited St Lucia on Friday – days after their Grenada flight was postponed at 11
The latest comes after the couple’s trip to Grenada was canceled after consultations with the island’s government and governor general.
While there is a clear sense of the country, which gained independence from Britain in 1974, and inevitably progresses to becoming a republic one day, it is not a country where the issue is particularly prevalent at the moment.
But sources noted that lengthy discussions with the Grenada government and local officials to ensure that the Wessexes itinerary would meet the tour’s goals – to celebrate the island’s heritage and ongoing successes as well as celebrate the Queen’s platinum jubilee – raised problems.
As a result of those discussions, Governor-General Cecil La Grenade advised that the trip be postponed.
She was not willing to discuss the details of the problem yesterday but one of her aides said: “All I can say at this point is that it was a joint decision.”