Prince William, Duchess Kate cancel Belize stop after protest

Prince William and Duchess Kate are having a change in plans after the first stop of their Caribbean tour was canceled due to “sensitive issues,” according to Kensington Palace. 

 The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are embarking on week-long visits to three Commonwealth countries – Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas – on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II and her Platinum Jubilee year, which marks her unprecedented 70 years on the British throne.

The royals were scheduled to meet Mayan families who run cacao farms in Belize’s Indian Creek village, but that visit has been taken off their schedules. 

“Due to sensitive issues involving the community in Indian Creek, the visit has been moved to a different location,” Kensington Palace said in a statement provided to USA TODAY. 

Prince William and his wife Kate are embarking on a tour to Central America and the Caribbean, even as some countries in the region mull cutting ties to the British monarchy. The Duke and Duchess' first stop was canceled after families in Belize's Indian Creek village objected to the royals' arrival.

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Villagers told local broadcaster 7 News Belize they weren’t informed or consulted on William and Kate’s plans to arrive at the village by helicopter. 

“We don’t want them to land in our land, that’s the message that we want to send. They could land anywhere but not in our land,” Indian Village chairman Sebastian Shol told the local news outlet. 

Channel 7’s report showed residents holding signs reading, “Not your land not your decision” and “Prince William leave our land.”

According to a statement from the Belize government, provided by Kensington Palace, the royals’ stop at Indian Creek was only “one of several sites being considered” for their visit. 

“Due to issues in the village, the Government of Belize activated its contingency planning and another venue has been selected to showcase Maya family entrepreneurship in the cacao industry,” the statement said.

More:Prince William, Duchess Kate off to sunny Caribbean for tour to mark queen’s Platinum Jubilee

The Caribbean tour is the Duke and Duchess’ first joint official overseas tour since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, which shut down most royal travel. It’s also the royal couple’s first trip to the Caribbean, which has been enthusiastically visited in the past by Will’s father and brother, Prince Charles and Prince Harry. 

The three countries Will and Kate will be visiting are among the 15 in the Commonwealth (including the United Kingdom) for which the queen remains the head of state. 

Last year, Barbados chose to switch from a constitutional monarch to an elected head of state, marking the first time since 1992 that a Commonwealth realm became a republic. Although that move was accepted with grace – the queen’s heir, Prince Charles, attended the ceremony in November – the Cambridges’ mission will be to remind remaining realms of the queen’s devotion to duty and the stability of continued ties to the British crown.

Contributing: Maria Puente 

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