Prince William Hints Future Title May Be on the Line As Tricky Tour Ends

Prince William hinted at the possibility he may miss out on a key future title as he took stock at the end of a tumultuous tour of the Caribbean.

Out of the three countries visited, Jamaica and Belize both indicated a desire for independence in a nod to removing Queen Elizabeth II as head of state.

However, the Duke of Cambridge hinted that may not be the only issue on the line as he made separate comments about the future of the "Commonwealth family."

Countries outside Britain that count the Queen as head of state are known as "Commonwealth Realms" leading to widespread confusion between them and the Commonwealth of Nations, a much bigger partnership of 54 countries, most of which were previously part of Britain's Empire.

Elizabeth is currently head of the Commonwealth and in 2018 it was announced Prince Charles will be her successor. However, it is not a hereditary title, meaning there is no guarantee William will take on the role after his father.

A post on William and Kate Middleton's official Twitter account read: "Catherine and I are committed to service. For us that's not telling people what to do. It is about serving and supporting them in whatever way they think best, by using the platform we are lucky to have.

"It is why tours such as this reaffirm our desire to serve the people of the Commonwealth and to listen to communities around the world. Who the Commonwealth chooses to lead its family in the future isn't what is on my mind.

"What matters to us is the potential the Commonwealth family has to create a better future for the people who form it, and our commitment to serve and support as best we can."

Prince William and Kate in Bahamas
Kate Middleton and Prince William pay their respects to hurricane victims at Abaco’s Memorial Wall during their visit to The Bahamas, on March 26, 2022. The tour triggered a backlash as protesters called for an apology and slavery reparations. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The language chosen in that section of the message does not appear to relate to the decisions of specific countries like Jamaica and Belize on becoming republics, but rather the wider Commonwealth of Nations.

It suggests William may be ready for the possibility that the next head of the organization after Prince Charles could be drawn from outside the royal family.

Charles was announced as his mother's successor in April 2018 at the time of the Commonwealth Head of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and following a meeting with Elizabeth.

A statement by Commonwealth leaders at the time read: "We recognize the role of the Queen in championing the Commonwealth and its peoples.

"The next head of the Commonwealth shall be His Royal Highness Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales."

William did also reflect on discussions about removing the queen as head of state in his end-of-tour statement and said he viewed these decisions as a matter for the countries themselves.

He said: "Foreign tours are an opportunity to reflect. You learn so much. What is on the minds of Prime Ministers. The hopes and ambitions of school children. The day-to-day challenges faced by families and communities.

"I know that this tour has brought into even sharper focus questions about the past and the future. In Belize, Jamaica and The Bahamas, that future is for the people to decide upon.

"But we have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with communities in all three countries, understanding more about the issues that matter most to them."

The tour was beset by problems starting before the royal couple ever stepped foot on Caribbean soil.

Kensington Palace canceled an event in Belize after a local protest about where the couple's helicopter would land.

A further demonstration was held in Kingston, Jamaica, where an open letter called for reparations and an apology from the couple for the Monarchy's role in slavery.

The situation escalated, however, when Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness told William and Kate in person the country was "moving on" towards independence.

A government minister in Belize then told the country's parliament about moves to consider independence and decolonization following the couple's visit.

William did address slavery at a reception at the governor-general's residence in Kingston on March 23.

He said: "I strongly agree with my father, The Prince of Wales, who said in Barbados last year that the appalling atrocity of slavery forever stains our history. I want to express my profound sorrow.

"Slavery was abhorrent, and it should never have happened."

However, he stopped short of the apology asked for by protesters, with organizers from the Advocated Network later dismissing his comments as "tone-deaf".

There was also a backlash during the tour over pictures of William and Kate meeting children through holes in a wire fence in Trench Town and at a military parade where they recreated a moment from the Queen and Prince Philip's 1953 tour of the country.

For more royal news and commentary check out Newsweek's The Royal Report podcast:

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