The Earl and Countess of Wessex don’t shy away from awkward moments on their current tour of the tropical Caribbean this year.
Prince Edward and Sophia arrived at a meeting on the island to hear that the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, wants his country to become a republic, the BBC reports.
“We continue to have the Queen as head of state, although I have to say that we aspire at some point to become a republic,” Brown told the couple.
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“But that’s not currently planned, so she will remain as head of state for a while.
“We’re not trying to embarrass you, we’re just trying to raise awareness,” he added.
The events of the reunion signify a growing sense of departure from the Commonwealth growing on the island.
In March, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness warned Prince William and Kate Middleton during their Caribbean tour that his country was also looking to move on.
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The royal couple’s visit to the island is part of Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, but Prime Minister Browne took the opportunity to talk business.
“Our civilization should understand the atrocities that took place during colonialism and slavery and the fact that we need to bring balance by having open discussions,” he said.
“You can even use your, say, diplomatic influence to build bridges in achieving the restorative justice we seek here in the Caribbean.”
Barbuda and Antigua only gained independence in 1981 and were originally settled by the British in the 17th century and endured centuries of slavery.
Throughout their tour, the royal couple have encountered a number of awkward moments, with protests and demands for “British compensation” on the streets.
The royal couple were greeted with protests on Saturday during their visit to St Vincent and the Grenadines, where banners called for “compensation now” and read “Britain, your debt is unpaid”.
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