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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge touched down on Thursday and were welcomed by 8-year-old Aniah Moss. The young local presented the British royals with a bouquet of flowers. Middleton, 40, paid tribute to the colors of the country’s flag by wearing a fitted aquamarine dress by Emilia Wickstead.
“[Kate] said I had a nice dress and I was beautiful and thank you for the flowers,” Moss, who wore a special floral dress with white gloves for the occasion, told People magazine. “I think they’re very tall!”
According to the outlet, the royal couple will take part in The Bahamas Platinum Jubilee Sailing Regatta in Nassau, meet one of the winners from William’s Earthshot Prize, learn new ideas about how reefs are being preserved and restored, as well as see how the people in Abaco coped with the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in 2019.
Despite the warm welcomes from many locals, the royal tour has been faced with controversy. During the couple’s visit to Jamaica, protesters gathered wearing T-shirts emblazoned with a pair of shackled Black wrists surrounded by the phrases “Seh Yuh Sorry!” and “Apologize now!”
The protest in front of the British High Commission in Kingston came a couple of days after dozens of prominent leaders in Jamaica publicized a letter demanding that Britain apologize and award its former colony slavery reparations.
They also decried the week-long Central American and Caribbean tour that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge embarked on Saturday, which coincides with Jamaica’s 60th independence anniversary and the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation.
“Kings, Queens and Princesses and Princes belong in fairytales, NOT in Jamaica!” read one poster held aloft by a young girl who joined the protest.
The royal couple’s trip, which began with a stop in Belize followed by scheduled visits to Jamaica and the Bahamas, was organized at the queen’s behest as some countries debate cutting ties to the monarchy like Barbados did in November.
The British empire controlled Jamaica for more than 300 years and forced hundreds of thousands of African slaves to toil the island under brutal conditions. Sugar replaced tobacco and cocoa as the main crop, with some 430 sugar estates reported by the mid-1700s, up from 57 nearly a century prior, according to Jamaica Information Services, a government agency.
The group protesting the royal visit noted in its letter that the British raped and killed thousands of slaves as it sought an apology for 60 reasons, including “for refusing to acknowledge the historic trade in Africans as a crime against humanity,” and for “pretending that the British led the abolition movement, when our ancestors worked, prayed and fought hard for this.”
Ahead of their trip, Jamaican singer Beenie Man told the TV show “Good Morning Britain” that the U.K. still controls the commonwealth of Jamaica. “It’s all about the queen, and the queen serves and the queen this and that – but what are they doing for Jamaica?” he said. “They’re not doing anything for us.”
The monarchy has said that Britain and Jamaica have a strong trade relationship, with the island exporting goods including rum and raw cane sugar to the U.K. It also noted the creation of programs targeting poverty, security, natural disaster management, social issues and the economy.
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness told the couple on Wednesday that the British commonwealth intends to become fully independent in an unexpected announcement that comes as other countries consider cutting ties with the monarchy.
Holness also noted that there are “unresolved” issues as he greeted the pair in front of a media scrum.
“We are moving on,” he said. “We intend to… fulfill our true ambitions and destiny as an independent, developed, prosperous country.”
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, 39, 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.”
The government of Belize said, “another venue has been selected to showcase Maya family entrepreneurship in the cacao industry.”
William is second in line to the throne after his father, Prince Charles. The trip is intended to strengthen the U.K.’s ties with Commonwealth countries as Queen Elizabeth II, William’s grandmother, marks 70 years on the throne.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.