William and Kate Tour Was 'All Offense, No Charm'—Meghan Markle Biographer

Prince William and Kate Middleton's recent tour of the Caribbean has been described as "all offense, no charm" by co-author of Finding Freedom, Omid Scobie on Newsweek's The Royal Report podcast.

Speaking to Chief Royal Correspondent Jack Royston and royal commentator Kristen Meinzer, Scobie described the Cambridge's tour as "sticking to a traditional format" which was not well received by the Caribbean people and presented many "missed opportunities."

William and Kate undertook a three stage tour of the Caribbean last month taking in visits to Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas.

Each stage was met with protests and, in Jamaica particularly, a plague of PR nightmares ensued which included poorly staged photo opportunities and the Prime Minister of Jamaica blindsiding the royals with a discussion about developing the nation's independence.

"With a tour such as this you're visiting former British colonies, countries that have deep history when it comes to slavery that was sort of overseen mostly by Britain, and the royal family at times—it's impossible to start a trip like that without feeling like it must be acknowledged in some way," said Scobie.

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"I think partly the fact that this trip was to do with celebrating the queen's jubilee... in the process [it] completely forgot about being respectful or mindful of the political climates in each country."

Meinzer said she believed the "whole world" was "cringing" when photographs of William and Kate were released meeting children separated by a chain link fence and also taking part in a military parade "dressed in white" with visual links to colonialism.

Scobie provided insight into failings that lay within the Cambridge's team on this subject: "The most important thing is to have people there who are actually mindful of what looks good and what doesn't ... I just think that that was lacking on this trip," he said.

"There was no one there to identify [the fence photographs] as potentially problematic. Because we know the reality is that the couple were just trying to meet as many people as possible—there was nothing sinister behind those images—but it was the thoughtlessness."

Royston posed the question to Scobie that had the tour been undertaken by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, would the reaction have been any different? Scobie continued that he believed the issue was bigger than the Sussex's and that answers lay with the palace, adding: "I think we have seen in the past where a tour has been able to set the tone from the very beginning.

"I remember being in briefings for the Sussex's tour of southern Africa and how it was Buckingham Palace staff who really went out of their way to say that this tour would be a little different. That the couple would be mindful of the politics within the local areas that they were visiting, that we wouldn't be seeing state dinners, that there wouldn't be the expensive wardrobes that you're used to on a royal trip.

"So that was proof that at one point the palace did know how to make these things work in a modern environment."

On the final night of the Cambridge's visit to Jamaica, William gave a speech in which he addressed, in part, the call for him to speak out against slavery.

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, it should never have happened."

For many the prince did not go far enough, with his failure to apologize for the roles his royal ancestors played in the enslavement of African men and women, a chief complaint.

Scobie acknowledged that the prince was placed in a "tough position," continuing: "For a member of the royal family to denounce slavery, to take ancestorally some sort of accountability for it and to apologize would also greatly affect the future of the royal family, because when you start apologizing or admitting that perhaps some of the wealth you have amassed within your family have come from such horrendous historical moments you're going to be received with the calls of 'give it back.'"

Scobie felt that the event as a whole lacked in the sensitivity needed during a modern tour of these areas, summing up his feelings with: "This tour was the charm offensive [and] it had been all offense, no charm."

Prince William Kate Middleton Parade
Finding Freedom author Omid Scobie called William and Kate's recent tour of the Carribbean "all offense, no charm" on Newsweek's "The Royal Report" podcast. Photographed at a military parade in Jamaica, March 24, 2022. Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage