Palace not impressed with Harry and Meghan in Jamaica
The timing of the Sussexes’ visit as the guests of Brian Robbins, the chief executive of Paramount (for the film premiere of Bob Marley: One Love), was “not especially welcome back in London” according to the source. Another said that it was “misguided.”
A source close to King Charles suggested Harry may be “oblivious to the political or familial sensitivities of being pictured with the Jamaican prime minister.”
If that’s true, he must have missed the global headlines attendant on Prince William and Kate Middleton’s trip to Jamaica where they met with Holness, who crisply informed them that his country was “moving on.”
“We’re very, very happy to have you and we hope you’ve received a warm welcome of the people,” Holness told the pair in front of news cameras. “Jamaica is a very free and liberal country and the people are very expressive —and I’m certain that you would have seen the spectrum of expressions yesterday.” (He was referring to both the warm welcome the couple had received in the country’s capital, Trench Town, contrasted with calls for slave reparations from the British monarchy.)
“There are issues here, which as you know, are unresolved, but your presence gives us an opportunity for those issues to be placed in context, to be out front and center and to be addressed as best we can,” Holness continued. “But Jamaica is, as you would see, is a country that is proud of its history and very proud of what we have achieved. And we’re moving on and we intend to… fulfill our true ambitions and destiny to become an independent, developed and prosperous country.” (Jamaica plans to become a republic by the time of the next general election, set for 2025.)
It was also a tour in which pictures screamed a thousand not very complimentary words; the couple were seen shaking hands with locals through a wire fence, and traveled in an open-topped Land Rover during a ceremonial military parade.
At the time, Prince William expressed “profound sorrow” over the “appalling atrocity of slavery” in a speech, but stopped short of issuing an apology for Britain’s role in the slave trade.
His and Kate’s Jamaica visit was part of a troubled tour of Central America and the Caribbean. After beginning in Belize, which saw them cancel their first official visit of the trip to a cacao farm in the face of anti-colonialism protests, the couple landed in Jamaica, where protestors greeted them outside the venue for their first engagement, a dinner at the British High Commission. The protest was spearheaded by a group of 100 community leaders calling themselves the Advocates Network.
The group issued an open letter to William and Kate on Sunday reading, in part: “We see no reason to celebrate 70 years of the ascension of your grandmother to the British throne because her leadership, and that of her predecessors, have perpetuated the greatest human rights tragedy in the history of humankind.”
One of the protest’s leading lights, the writer Opal Palmer Adisa, told Sky News: “Kate and William are beneficiaries, so they are, in fact, complicit because they are positioned to benefit specifically from our ancestors, and we’re not benefiting from our ancestors. The luxury and the lifestyle that they have had and that they continue to have, traipsing all over the world for free with no expense, that is a result of my great, great grandmother and grandfather, their blood and tears and sweat.”
After the tour, William issued a statement imagining a royal-free commonwealth.
“Foreign tours are an opportunity to reflect. You learn so much. What is on the minds of Prime Ministers. The hopes and ambitions of school children. The day-to-day challenges faced by families and communities,” William’s statement read.
“I know that this tour has brought into even sharper focus questions about the past and the future. In Belize, Jamaica and The Bahamas, that future is for the people to decide upon. But we have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with communities in all three countries, understanding more about the issues that matter most to them. Catherine and I are committed to service. For us that’s not telling people what to do. It is about serving and supporting them in whatever way they think best, by using the platform we are lucky to have.
“It is why tours such as this reaffirm our desire to serve the people of the Commonwealth and to listen to communities around the world. Who the Commonwealth chooses to lead its family in the future isn’t what is on my mind. What matters to us is the potential the Commonwealth family has to create a better future for the people who form it, and our commitment to serve and support as best we can.”
“Given everything that has gone on, it’s hard to see how Harry could ever come back into the fold.”
— Royal source
The Times pointed out Harry and Meghan’s many links to Jamaica, including Harry’s official visit to mark Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee year. A well-informed source told the paper: “Harry is beloved by the Jamaicans so they could have been a great asset to the Commonwealth if they had stayed in their royal roles.”
When asked about Harry and Meghan’s trip, those close to William told The Times he was “concerned with other matters,” not least Kate’s recovery after abdominal surgery.
“Given everything that has gone on, it’s hard to see how Harry could ever come back into the fold,” a well-placed source told the Times of the likelihood of Harry and Meghan’s wider royal rehabilitation.
King Charles doing well after prostate treatment
King Charles is due to be discharged from the hospital soon, after undergoing a procedure for an enlarged prostate, which is understood to have gone well. He was accompanied to the hospital by his wife, Queen Camilla, on Friday, and she returned to visit her husband on Saturday and again on Sunday, according to a report in the Daily Mail. Charles is being treated at the same hospital as Kate Middleton, who is currently recovering from abdominal surgery, and is believed to have called in to see her before his own treatment.
Camilla said Friday that the 75-year-old king was doing “fine” but he is not expected to participate in public engagements for another week or so. The Daily Beast reported this week that the mood at Buckingham Palace has been “subdued,” with insiders saying the condition has come as an “unwelcome reminder” of the king’s advanced age.
However, the king’s team have said he intends to keep up the pace—and will be tackling paperwork from bed this week.
Harry and Meghan’s neighborhood targeted by thieves
A gang of thieves broke into a home five minutes from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s $15 million house while they were in Jamaica last week, and cops have warned residents of the tony neighborhood to be on their guard for copycat crimes.
The Mirror reported that the Montecito Association issued the alert from Santa Barbara County Sheriff officer Rachel Zick.
It said: “In the past week, deputies have taken several burglary reports with notable similarities in the resident layouts, times of occurrence and items taken. In these burglaries, criminals target unoccupied residences that back up to open spaces such as golf courses as well as creeks, streams or the ocean. Investigators have noted most of these crimes tend to occur between the hours of 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. The suspect(s) in these cases are targeting safes.”
Harry and Meghan’s home has been the subject of multiple security alerts.
Ambassador for Charles charity filmed in assault
A hugely popular Pakistani folk music star who is an ambassador for the British Asian Trust, a charity founded by King Charles which has campaigned against domestic violence, has admitted assaulting a band member, but defended his violent attack as justified.
Shocking footage published by the Daily Mail shows Rahat Fateh Ali Khan slapping, hitting, and pulling the hair of a backing singer on a U.S. tour in a violent argument about a misplaced bottle.
Khan, 49, responded to the allegations by recording a video with the victim of his assault, and the victim’s father, in which all three said the singer had done nothing wrong and the victim defended his assailant.
According to the Indian Express’ translation of the staged “clarification” video, it begins with Khan stating, “This is about a personal issue between an ustad [highly skilled musician] and shagird [pupil]. He is like my son. This is how the relationship is between a teacher and student. If a disciple does something good, I shower my love on him. If he does something wrong, he is punished.”
The assaulted individual says in the video: “He’s like my father. He loves us a lot. Whoever spread this video is trying to defame my ustad.”
The king has met Khan several times in his role as an ambassador for the British Asian Trust, which helps domestic violence victims and runs mental health initiatives across India and Pakistan. The British Asian Trust told the Mail: “We take all accusations of abuse seriously and we will look into this urgently.”
This week in royal history
Henry VIII died on Jan. 28, 1547, at Whitehall Palace, London. He’s buried at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.
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