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Royal Tour Caribbean - Belize

Photo: Chris Jackson

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have finished their tour of Belize and will now travel to Jamaica for the next stop of their tour of the Caribbean. Their visit lasted two and a half days and included eight engagements including meetings with dignitaries, a visit to a local cocoa farm, a celebration of Garifuna culture, a chance to learn about conservation efforts in Belize, a tour of Caracol (an ancient Mayan archaeological site in the jungle of the Chiquibul forest), a demonstration of British Army Training Support Unit (BATSUB) and an evening reception.

Photo: Derek Momodu

Tours are notoriously busy and William and Catherine managed to get a lot done in just over fifty hours. To learn more about their arrival in Belize and meeting with the Prime Minister, check out the previous post. During their two full days in Belize, their visit focused on sustainability, conservation, celebrating local cultures, learning about the history of the Mayan people, supporting the armed forces and, of course, some soft diplomacy.

The couple made headlines on day one during a celebration of the Garifuna culture, when they both showed off their dance moves. The Garifuna people are a mixed African and indigenous people originally from the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent. It's estimated there are about 15,000 Garifuna people living in Belize, with others living in Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Saint Vincent. The largest population of Garifuna people outside of Central America is in New York, specifically the Bronx. In 2001 UNESCO proclaimed the language, dance, and music of the Garifuna as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in Nicaragua, Honduras, and Belize.

Photo: Getty Pool

After celebrating the Garifuna culture in Hopkins, William and Catherine headed to the beach in order to learn more about the conservation efforts Belize has made. Belize is home to the world’s second largest barrier reef, thanks to decades of work to protect this incredible marine environment. In 2017, offshore oil exploration was banned, resulting in the reef receiving UNESCO World Heritage Status. Williams work with the Earthshot Prize and other partnerships in conservation, such as the campaign to end the illegal wildlife trade, has made the environment one of his top areas of focus and he has spoken extensively about the importance of protecting the natural world.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Caracol, an ancient Mayan archaeological site deep in the jungle of the Chiquibul forest. They were given a tour to learn more about the culture and history of the ancient site. They then travelled to the British Army Training Support Unit (BATSUB) based in the Chiquibul Forest, where William trained during his gap year. BATSUB delivers tropical environment training to troops from the UK alongside international partners, and is manned by 12 permanent staff and employs more than 100 locals. They were given a survivalist lesson and spoke with members of the armed services.

Their final event in Jamaica was an evening reception hosted by the governor-general of Belize. The reception took place at the Mayan ruins at Cahal Pech, and celebrated the very best of Belizean culture. William and Catherine will travel to Jamaica on the morning of the 22nd as they continue their first tour through the Caribbean.

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