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Prince William’s Speech Condemning Slavery in Jamaica Still Took Care Not to Tarnish the Royal Family Name

Prince William and Kate Middleton’s tour of the Caribbean has been fraught with controversy from the beginning. It certainly wasn’t the visit they were expecting, but the Duke of Cambridge finally addressed the awkward uncomfortableness that has been following throughout their royal trip.

On Wednesday evening, at a dinner hosted by Jamaica’s Governor General Patrick Allen, William condemned slavery in his speech. Mentioning Prince Charles’ words from last November, he agreed with his dad that “the appalling atrocity of slavery forever stains our history.” William added, “I want to express my profound sorrow. Slavery was abhorrent, and it should never have happened.” He also took the time to indirectly address Jamaica’s intention to remove Queen Elizabeth as head of state and become an independent republic.

“While the pain runs deep, Jamaica continues to forge its future with determination, courage and fortitude,” he said. “The strength and shared sense of purpose of the Jamaican people, represented in your flag and motto, celebrate an invincible spirit.” While the speech was a good start in acknowledging the historical abominations of slavery, William fell short in offering an apology for the royal family’s role in colonialism. That ultimate protection of the palace is leaving them stuck between the past and the present. In order to modernize the monarchy, many royal traditions need to be left behind for good (and that includes authentically apologizing for the past as difficult as that might be).

William and Kate’s visit to Jamaica was best summed up by the country’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sport, Olivia Grange, “They are our guests, and we will make them feel at home, but it’s not going to move our focus from the fact that an injustice was done to our ancestors, we seek reparations and we are focused on achieving that.” The citizens of Jamaica hope the couple enjoys their time on the island, but one condemnation speech is not going to stop them from seeking independence from a troubled past.

Before you go, click here to see Princess Diana’s most scandalous royal moments.

Princess Diana

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