The royal couple — who are scheduled to arrive in Belize on Saturday, March 19 — canceled their first outing at a sustainable cocoa farm in Indian Creek amid protests about indigenous rights and colonialism.
Ahead of the 39-year-old Duke of Cambridge and the 40-year-old Duchess of Cambridge’s arrival, local villagers staged a protest where they called the appearance a “slap in the face.”
“We don’t want them to land on our land, that’s the message that we want to send,” Indian Creek chairman Sebastian Shol told the Daily Mail on Friday, March 18. “They could land anywhere but not on our land.”
Protesters were also upset that the twosome’s helicopter was given permission on their football field without consultation.
Village youth leader Dionisio Shol told the outlet: “For us it really hits right at home because of the treatment. The organizer said we had to let them use the football field and that people were coming to our village and it had to look good. But they didn’t want to divulge who. Eventually somebody said it was Prince William coming to our village.”
Dionisio continued: “That’s where the first issue arose. These are high-profile people, we respect them, but they also have to be giving respect to the community leaders. Giving community leaders commands did not sit well with the community.”
While Kensington Palace has yet to publicly address the protestors’ concerns, aides did confirm that the farm visit would be canceled in favor of an alternative activity.
“We can confirm that due to sensitive issues involving the community in Indian Creek, the visit has been moved to a different location,” the palace told The Guardian in a statement on Saturday. “Further details will be provided in due course.”
The twosome — who share Prince George, 8, Princess Charlotte, 6, and Prince Louis, 3 — were scheduled to kick off their weeklong tour in Belize before heading to Jamaica and the Bahamas in honor of Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee.
Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas are all current members of the British Commonwealth, which the royals celebrated earlier this week.
“Fantastic to come together to celebrate #CommonwealthDay and modern, vibrant and diverse communities across the globe at Westminster Abbey today,” a post on William and Kate’s official Instagram account read on Monday, March 14.
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