‘When Queen gone it’s done’ Royals warned Commonwealth ‘finished’ ahead of Wessex tour

Prince Edward and Sophie to face ‘issues’ on tour says expert

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The Earl and Countess of Wessex’s tour of the Caribbean begins today. Prince Edward and Sophie will visit St Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Antigua and Barbuda in a week-long trip to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. They had been due to visit Granada as well, but Buckingham Palace confirmed the visit had been postponed after talks with the island’s government and governor general.

Edward and Sophie hope to visit the island at a later date, with no further detail yet given about the reason for the cancelled visit.

Many have tipped the pair’s visit to be riddled with challenges following Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge’s recent tour to the Caribbean.

The Cambridges faced criticism for various aspects of their recent visit amid a renewed wave of republicanism in the Caribbean.

The various protests and objections to royal visits have sparked fears over what the future holds for the monarchy when the Queen passes away.

Anna Pasternak, author of “The Princess in Love” and other royal biographies, said last month the Commonwealth is on borrowed time.

She said: “I definitely think that the Commonwealth is in decline.

“When you reflect on the tours the Queen and Prince Philip undertook so dutifully, the whole world has since changed.”

She added: “Once the Queen is gone, I suspect the Commonwealth will be finished.

“This Caribbean tour seemed patronising and outdated. Kate and William dancing and drum-beating was excruciating.

“I don’t think that the Cambridges can turn it around, because a thirtysomething apologising for slavery just doesn’t land well.”

Prince Charles visited Barbados in November for a transition ceremony, as the island nation removed the Queen as its head of state.

Charles addressed the “appalling atrocity” of slavery and Britain’s colonial past, and enjoyed a largely positive reception.

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Ms Pasternak told told The Telegraph: “Charles had a better time in Barbados because the older generation have more gravitas and he displayed a certain humility, whereas Kate and William came across as too try-hard, like awkward guests at a party.”

Likewise, Princess Anne enjoyed a controversy-free visit to Australia and Papua New Guinea earlier this month.

However, the Wessexes are expected to face a more difficult trip.

Ahead of their visit, the Antigua and Barbuda Reparations Support Commission has written an open letter criticising the Royal Family.

The letter says: “It has become common for members of the Royal Family and representatives of the government of Britain to come to this region and lament that slavery was an ‘appalling atrocity’, that it was ‘abhorrent’, that ‘it should not have happened’.

“We hear the phoney sanctimony of those who came before you that these crimes are a ‘stain on your history’.

“For us, they are the source of genocide and of continuing deep international injury, injustice and racism. We hope you will respect us by not repeating the mantra.

“We are not simpletons.”

The negative headlines that dominated the Cambridge’s Caribbean tour will have “concentrated Palace minds”, claimed the BBC’s royal correspondent Sarah Campbell.

She suggested the reason for Edward and Sophie’s Grenada visit being cancelled was to avoid another “PR disaster”, a term that was used throughout William and Kate’s visit.

Ms Campbell said: “As the Cambridges found out, tours that once may have provided picturesque photo opportunities can now be viewed as a reminder of darker times involving colonialism and slavery.

“The Palace will be hoping enough ‘consultation’ has been done to ensure the Earl and Countess receive a warm welcome on the islands that remain on the itinerary.”

A Buckingham Palace source told the BBC that talks were held with the three nations Edward and Sophie will still visit to ensure the itinerary would successfully celebrate the islands and mark the Queen’s 70-year reign at the same time.

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