Royal Tour Caribbean - The Bahamas
I am completely biased because this is the visit I was most excited for, having previously been fortunate enough to visit the Bahamas myself. It is truly one of the most gorgeous countries with some of the friendliest people I've ever met. After what could be described as a challenging few days (I wrote about the visit to Jamaica here) the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge did what the royals do best: Kept Calm and Carried On.
Their tour of the Bahamas was, in a word, delightful. After meeting with the Prime Minister and his wife, they enjoyed a quiet evening before a full day of engagements on Friday. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's first stop was to Sybil Strachan Primary School. The Duchess gave a speech during assembly praising teachers and kids for how they adapted during the pandemic. They then toured classrooms and found out more about what kids were learning.
It's no secret that Catherine thrives around kids and this was no exception. She was clearly in her element and seemed to deeply enjoy the visit, despite inclement weather. William and Catherine were gifted a portrait of the Queen and stories written by the kids before they toured classrooms and were able to talk directly with school children.
William and Catherine then met with frontline workers to hear more about their experience throughout the pandemic. There was a celebration of the work that they put in over the last two years at the Garden of Remembrance in Nassau. Supporting frontline workers has been a major priority of the Duke and Duchesses since the start of the pandemic and they have made zoom calls, visited them in person and created a £1.8 million grant going towards ten leading mental health and frontline support charities.
Their next stop was Parliament Square where they were treated to a Junkanoo parade before they met with well-wishers who had come out to greet them. The parade was a vibrant and colorful spectacle, despite the weather, and was the first Junkanoo since the start of the pandemic. William and Catherine greeted the hundreds off well-wishers who braved the rain for a chance to meet royalty and for most, especially a sweet baby that Catherine took a selfie with, the wait was well worth it.
The pair then participated in a sailing regatta for the Queen Platinum Jubilee. Prince Williams team managed to secure victory and they both came off the sailboats very wet thanks to the rain but in good spirits. The pair have raced one another before, with similar results, and William wasn't afraid to mention his victory that night at the diplomatic reception.
Their final event of the day was a Reception at the Baha Mar Hotel, Nassau, held by the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas (Sir Cornelius Smith) to mark The Queen's Platinum Jubilee. They were presented with a model sailboat to commemorate the regatta earlier in the day and met with former Miss. Bahama, politicians and diplomats.
Of particular note, Prince William gave a speech reiterating the monarchies long held position that the future of countries are up to them and that the monarchy will support with pride whatever decisions that they make. He pointedly concluded with the note, "Relationships Evolve. Friendships Endure." He also noted during this speech that they would one day be bringing their kids for a visit as the Bahamas hold a special place in the heart of the family, especially the late Duke of Edinburgh.
Their second full day on the island was just as busy as the first with visits to Abaco and Grand Bahama. William and Catherine's first stop of the day was a visit to Daystar Bible Church in Abaco to find out more about Hurricane Dorian has affected the local community. Hurricane Dorian struck the Bahamian Islands in 2019 and, with the devastation of the pandemic, many communities are still struggling to rebuild. William and Catherine laid flowers at a memorial for the over 2,000 people who lost their life during the storm, which many say was even worse than previous hurricanes due to Climate Change.
Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge then attended a fish fry where the Duchess learned how to make a conch salad and even tried a local island favorite. Catherine, usually the more adventurous of the two tried the inside of a conch while William looked on in a mixture of amazement and bewilderment. The pair seemed to have an excellent time trying local cuisine and getting to meet more of the Bahamian people.
Before departing for Grand Bahama, they took time to meet with those who had gathered which included an adorable girl in a princess costume and a child with a keen interest in photography. William was sure to introduce Catherine and she took the opportunity to give them some advice and encouragement with their photography skills.
On Grand Bahama, the couple visited a children's home where they spent time talking to, playing with and partaking in crafts with the kids. While press was not present at the visit (in order to protect the children's privacy) there were some photos released afterwards showing just how great the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are with kids. Prince William played some football and pushed the kids on a swing set while Catherine partook in crafts and talked to the kids about their experiences.
Perhaps one of the most anticipated visits of the entire trip was to Coral Vita, one of the Earthshot prize winners. William and Catherine found out more about their work and planted some coral. William went scuba diving for the second time on the tour in order to plant some of the coral that was ready while Catherine watched on from the boat. Coral Vita has an ambitious goal to revitalize the Bahamian reefs through their coral farms and with the prize money and publicity from Earthshot, I'm sure we will continue to hear about their incredible progress.
William and Catherine departed the Bahamas on Saturday night, heading home in time for a service honouring the life of Prince Philip early this week. The Bahamas was definitely a highlight of the tour and a great reminder to the rest of the world that there are now plenty of places open and ready to welcome tourists back to their shores after a difficult couple of years. The people were so welcoming and local newscasters and journalists did such an amazing job covering the tour with livestreams and up-to-date reporting on all of their visits. I personally can't wait to be able to return one day, with a few royal recommendations that I'll have to check out!
A recap on all of the Duchess of Cambridge's fashion on their tour of the Caribbean and everything else Catherine has worn this year.