Jamaicans are not happy about Prince Williams clownish slavery speech

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge probably have at least a dozen staffers with them, from dressers to hairstylists to office people coordinating things behind the scenes. Let me say to all of them: you’re doing a terrible job, sweeties. We’ve known for years that Kensington Palace is a clownshow, but the clownery is even more exposed when they take the show on the road. I’m sure that William has some Tory “speechwriter” on staff who decided the precise words William should use in his speech last night at the Governor-General’s home, at a black-tie reception. What the clownshow brain trust decided on was: “I strongly agree with my father, the Prince of Wales, who said in Barbados last year ‘the appalling atrocities they bring forever stains our history’. I want to express my profound sorrow, slavery was abhorrent and it should never have happened.” As I said, a historical passive voice. Well, Jamaicans know that Baldemort’s words were too little, too late:

The Duke of Cambridge visited the fourth-largest Commonwealth realm, during which protestors called for him to apologise for the Royal Family’s role in the slave trade. While he expressed “sorrow”, Prince William didn’t personally apologise for the “abhorrent” practice. The Duke and Duchess also met with the country’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness, which a senior government official in Jamaica labelled “deeply embarrassing”.

Good Morning Britain correspondent Noel Phillips explored the response to the Duke’s statement. He explained: “If you’re measuring the reaction from those who have been protesting against this visit, and I think it’s fair to say they are incredibly disappointed that they did not hear the words ‘I am sorry’. But let’s not forget this really was a significant and consequential moment for the duke, his grandmother had sent him to this island on a tour described as a charm offensive, I think it’s fair to say that charm has been ineffective so far.”

Many believed the speech did not go far enough to acknowledge the Royal Family’s role in the slave trade. After listening to the Prince’s words, Omar Ryan later said: “That’s a statement of regret that it shouldn’t have happened, but he is not admitting to their role in the enslavement of African Caribbean people.”

[From The Daily Express]

Something I’ve been thinking about during the whole Keen Caribbean Disaster Tour is that William and Kate tend to believe that as long as they don’t directly acknowledge anything, they can just get by and swim along and no one will notice. Like, William probably thought he made a brilliant speech and no one would notice his passive voice or his lack of apology. The royalists and neocolonialists argue that if William directly apologized for slavery and his family’s role in it, then he would be admitting his family’s historical culpability and opening up the royal family to the reparations conversation. But… all of those conversations are happening already. The history is still the history, and people are well aware of the history. People are already having those conversations about reparations. If William (or any other royal) directly acknowledged all that, all he would be doing is shifting the Overton Window towards a conversation about righting historical injustices.

Photos courtesy of Instar, Backgrid.

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