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William and Kate looked in their element as they were greeted by large crowds in Trench Town, Jamaica – after protests on royal tour

It’s one of those walkabout moments that people will write about for years, William and Kate being mobbed in Trench Town in Jamaica, the birthplace of reggae.

They were surrounded by crowds, booming music and a strong whiff of cannabis.

What must have been a nightmare for their security team, the couple looked in their element in the chaos of it all.

Read more: William and Kate greeted by protesters demanding apology and reparations for Britain’s slaving past

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet The Jamaica National bobsleigh team during a visit to Trench Town,
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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet The Jamaica national bobsleigh team during a visit to Trench Town

It showed that not everyone is against this royal visit as they started their tour of a country that is questioning its future relationship with the Royal Family.

Earlier there had been protests, demonstrating the strong feelings held by some about the horrors of slavery and the call for reparations from the UK.

We’re told the couple were aware of them, and you’d imagine that the fact Jamaica is seriously considering following Barbados in becoming a republic would be pretty high on their briefing notes.

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Their first big engagement around a football pitch in Trench Town had a different vibe from those demos, and in some ways, you’d expect that; you wouldn’t stand around to see the royal couple if you didn’t like them.

But what I found from talking to some of those who’d turned up was that the debate about becoming a republic is certainly not at the front of everyone’s mind; how they live and feed their families day to day is much more pressing.

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge landed at Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, Jamaica.

Most people were simply excited to have the couple there, others were just indifferent and had turned up to see the spectacle of it all.

For others, it was important to get close to the Jamaican sports stars who’d been invited like England footballer Raheem Sterling.

I asked him how important Jamaica’s relationship with the Royal Family was for him growing up, and what he thought about the current debate.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shake hands with locals during a visit Trench Town
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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shake hands with locals during a visit to Trench Town
Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge speak to Premier League stars Raheem Sterling and Leon Bailey during a visit to Trench Town, the birthplace of reggae music, on day four of the Platinum Jubilee Royal Tour of the Caribbean on March 22, 2022 in Kingston, Jamaica. Chris Jackson/Pool via REUTERS
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Prince William and Kate speak to Premier League stars Raheem Sterling and Leon Bailey during their visit

“I don’t want to go too much into that,” he said, adding, “I think, you know like with everything you have some people who might be a bit frustrated with things that happened in the past but I think on the whole there’s a lot of love for the Royal Family here”.

In some ways, he summed it up. It is nuanced, and a debate bound up in a number of different areas, the legacy of slavery, the right to compensation and is now the right time for Jamaica to cut ties with the Royal Family and go it alone?

It’s hard to know if any protestors tried to turn up in Trench Town, security was inevitably tight.

Read more on this story:
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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been accused of benefitting from the ‘blood, tears and sweat’ of slaves in Jamaica

And they may well face tougher crowds in the next couple of days. There are many who still want Prince William to apologise for the Royal Family’s role in slavery.

I understand he is likely to acknowledge the pain but stop short of an apology. We wait to find out if that is enough in anyway to satisfy this new audience on what is the couple’s first trip to Jamaica.


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