Lucky St Lucia! Sophie Wessex and Prince Edward visit another island on royal tour as reparations row rumbles on with anti-monarchists slamming prince’s ‘disinterest’ in Caribbean
- Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex due to carry out two engagements in St Lucia on Tuesday as part of tour
- They are due to meet with commonwealth military veterans, Red Cross and St John’s Ambulance personnel
- Comes after anti-monarchy campaigners slammed the Earl of Wessex’s ‘disinterest’ in discussing reparations
Sophie Wessex cut a striking figure as she and Prince Edward visited St Lucia for the latest leg of their royal tour – while anti-monarchists slammed the prince’s ‘disinterest’ in a Caribbean reparations row.
The Countess of Wessex, 57, sported a blue and green floral dress with silver platforms as she and Edward arrived in St Lucia to carry out just two engagements on Tuesday after the last-minute postponement of their trip to Grenada.
The earl and countess met with commonwealth military veterans, the Red Cross and St John’s Ambulance personnel at the high commisioner’s residence, before travelling to the governor general’s residence for a Duke of Edinburgh award event.
It comes after anti-monarchy campaigners labelled the Earl of Wessex’s ‘disinterest’ in reparations for Caribbean nations as ‘an insult to Britain as much as it is’ to the islands themselves. The couple are still yet to hold a public walkabout on their Caribbean tour.
Republicans criticised Edward after he gave a nervous laugh following remarks from the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, who urged him and the Countess of Wessex to use their ‘diplomatic influence’ to achieve ‘reparatory justice’ for the country.
The group’s chief executive, Graham Smith, said the response from the earl was ‘arrogant and contemptible’, accusing him of not being ‘interested in engaging sincerely with those they visit’.
Sophie, Countess of Wessex meeting with Governor General at the PM residence in St Lucia after she and Prince Edward arrived for two engagements on the island
The Earl and Countess will meet communities, local entrepreneurs and craftspeople, and young people, in celebration of the culture, future and vibrancy of the islands
The Countess of Wessex, 57, sported a blue and green floral dress with silver platforms while The Countess of Wessex, 57, sported a blue and green floral dress with silver platforms
Edward joked that he had not been taking notes during Gaston Browne’s opening remarks, so could not respond to all the points he had made. The prime minister did not laugh at the comment.
Mr Browne also indicated to Edward and Sophie that the island one day wished to become a republic during Monday’s visit.
The earl nervously laughed after being asked to give words in response to Mr Browne’s speech.
Reacting to the meeting, Mr Smith said: ‘Prince Edward’s tour is almost as disastrous as William’s, showing he is as out of touch and tone deaf as his nephew.
‘His complete disinterest in the very serious issues of colonial legacy and repatriations is an insult to Britain as much as it is to his Caribbean hosts.
‘It’s time the Commonwealth ended its ties with the British monarchy and, in the interests of British diplomacy, it’s time we stopped sending royals overseas on official engagements.
‘Clearly they’re neither up to the task nor interested in engaging sincerely with those they visit.’
The couple’s trip comes after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were criticised for some elements of their recent Caribbean tour, deemed to hark back to colonial days.
Continuing his reaction to the meeting between Edward and the prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Mr Smith added: ‘This arrogant and contemptible response from Edward shows again that the royals are not cut out for diplomacy.
‘It has always been the case, but until now host nations have been too polite to put them on the spot.
‘Caribbean nations have clearly had enough of Britain’s patronising diplomacy and are using these tours to raise serious grievances.
‘More astute, sincere and accomplished visitors would have been able to engage with those issues, not simply dismiss them.
Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex at the St Lucia governor general’s residence for a Duke of Edinburgh award event
The couple are still yet to hold a public walkabout on their Caribbean tour amid anger from locals at colonial reparations
The Earl and the Countess of Wessex during a reception with Mr Cyril Errol Melchiades Charles, Acting Governor-General of Saint Lucia
The Earl and Countess will meet communities, local entrepreneurs and craftspeople, and young people, in celebration of the culture, future and vibrancy of the islands.
Prince Edward and Roderick Alphonse as the prince and Sophie, Countess of Wessex visit St Lucia as part of their trip to the Caribbean
It comes after anti-monarchy campaigners labelled the Earl of Wessex’s ‘disinterest’ in reparations for Caribbean nations as ‘an insult to Britain as much as it is’ to the islands themselves
‘Edward demonstrated just why royals are no good at diplomacy, coming across as aloof, uninterested and out of his depth.’
The earl and countess were also met with protests on one leg of their tour, with demonstrators in St Vincent and the Grenadines displaying banners such as ‘Britain your debt is outstanding’, ‘compensation now’ and ‘end to colonialism’.
Despite the protests, the couple have been greeted with a friendly welcome at all of their engagements and have received numerous messages of good will towards the Queen ahead of her Platinum Jubilee.
It comes as aides revealed Prince Charles and his wife Camilla will visit Canada next month as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations where they will acknowledge the treatment of indigenous people.
The trip, which will be the 19th the heir-to-the-throne has undertaken to Canada, will see the couple travel more than 2,000 miles from Newfoundland and Labrador to the Northwest Territories over three days from May 17 to 19.
Clarence House said Charles ‘has long believed that we need to learn from indigenous peoples around the world how better we should live in and care for nature and the planet’, and that this tour ‘will highlight an emphasis on learning from indigenous peoples in Canada’ and focus on ‘a more sustainable way of living with global warming’.
The trip comes weeks after the Queen received Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Windsor Castle on March 7 – and follows Charles meeting him at the Cop26 climate change summit in Glasgow last November.
Prince Charles arrives at a farmers’ market in Wellington, Ontario, during his previous tour of Canada on June 30, 2017
Prince Charles and Camilla try some local produce during their last visit to Canada, in Wellington, Ontario, on June 30, 2017
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla wave as they leave in Winnipeg, Canada, during their tour of the country in May 2014
The Prince of Wales greets the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau ahead of their bilateral meeting during the Cop26 summit at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow on November 2, 2021
Queen Elizabeth II receives Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during an audience at Windsor Castle on March 7, 2022
Within hours of landing in Canada in May, the couple will take part in a ‘solemn moment of reflection and prayer’ in a garden dedicated to indigenous victims of the residential school system which saw thousands die or abused.
Charles and Camilla will also recognise the Commonwealth country’s response to the conflict in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion and meet members of Canada’s Ukrainian community, which is the largest outside Europe.
And the couple will highlight causes they have championed in recent years such as supporting the victims of domestic abuse and the issue of climate change, as well as recognising the role of Canada’s Armed Forces.
It comes three days after Charles’s son Harry revealed that the 2025 Invictus Games will take place in Canada, saying it would take place in partnership with indigenous communities ‘in the spirit of truth and reconciliation’.
Just last year, statues of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II were toppled and desecrated during protests across Canada in July 2021 on its national day over the discovery of mass graves of indigenous schoolchildren.
Source: Read Full Article