Was the royal tour of Jamaica a ‘PR disaster’?

“The Royal Tour has been an integral part of the British royal family’s playbook since the mass media age,” James Ball said New statesman. They’re usually a hit, but the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s recent eight-day tour of the Caribbean was far from a triumph. It will be remembered for protests and demands slavery reparations; for the Jamaican Prime Minister, who told the royal couple that his country would “move on” by dumping the Queen as head of state; and for some truly chilling photos.

The worst of it showed William and Kate clutching the hands of Jamaican children cooped up behind a chain link fence. The images were of harmless origin: the royal couple had attended a football match and greeted spectators on their way out. But stripped of their context, the images – with their white savior connotations – looked “gloomy”.

Almost as painful, said Jan Moir in the Daily Mail, were photos of William standing in full military fatigues in the back seat of a Land Rover, with his wife wearing a hat at his side. “Dear God, it couldn’t have been more colonial if he wore a pith helmet and drove a tank through the streets of Kingston.” Royal aides complain that you can’t judge a tour by a few photo opportunities, but “what’s a royal tour other than a symbolic sequence of photo opportunities and strategic meet’n’greets”? The humiliating PR disaster of this particular tour raises questions about the future of both the Commonwealth and the monarchy.

You can’t blame the Cambridges, Sean O’Grady said The Independent. They followed “the usual pattern” for royal tours. The template just doesn’t work anymore. Even avid royalists like me “can – sadly – sense that people are fed up with this stuff,” Clare Foges said in The times. To ensure the monarchy’s long-term future after the Queen’s death, the Prince of Wales must “get ahead of his critics” by introducing some truly radical reforms.

It will not be enough to simply slim down the monarchy; He must also scrap outdated etiquette and titles, vacate royal residences, consider repatriating royal spoils like the Koh-i-Noor diamond, and voluntarily step down as head of state of the remaining Commonwealth realms. This does not necessarily mean a “cycling monarchy” based on the Scandinavian model. That would bore the Brits, who always wish for “the occasional orgy of flag-waving and fairy-tale carriages”. But it is clear that tinkering with the status quo is no longer enough. Was the royal tour of Jamaica a ‘PR disaster’?

Fry Electronics Team

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