Will Kate and William’s awkward Jamaican vacation end royal tours?

“Oh my gosh. The weather, sorry, we’ve brought England’s rain with us,” says Kate as she arrives at a school in the Bahamas. Prince William quips, “We’ve brought the weather, haven’t we.”

“I hope you didn’t get too wet coming here and apologies for bringing this British weather with us,” Kate tells the assembly at Sybil Strachan Primary School in Nassau. And because we are reading the Daily Mail, England’s strangest tabloid, the story is headlined “Long to rain over us?”

Kate seemed “emotional,” the Mail said, as she told young children at the school, “One of the hardest things I think we’ve all found about the pandemic was being separated from the people we love. But we’ve also had the chance to rediscover how important our families are and how important our friends are, too.”

Says Kate, who is estranged from her brother-in-law and his mixed-race wife after they objected to speculation within the royal family about what shade their newborn’s skin would be.

Kate and William’s family has a history of blood feuds. She and William don’t see Prince Harry and Meghan Markle or their babies, or sex pest Andrew recently, and someone is always on the outs.

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla are also meeting schoolchildren but in Northern Ireland. The children are smiling and white and waving Union flags. In Trench Town in Jamaica, the children are smiling and Black and kept behind a chain-link fence.

The battered Charles and Camilla sit on a tandem bicycle. Kate and William sit inside a bobsleigh.

Camilla is wearing green for Ireland. So is Kate for Jamaica. Kate’s “sweet tribute to Princess Diana is a Jenny Packham dress inspired by the late royal’s favorite green evening gown that she wore at least three times.”

Kate-verbs are like David Attenborough describing birds: “Wears, dons, dazzles, sports, teams her ensemble with, completes her look, steps out in, stuns in, opts for, oozes elegance.”

The visit inspires demonstrations calling the monarchy a relic. It doesn’t matter. Kate touches her hat and the tabloids swoon. “Hold on to your hat! Kate Middleton grapples with the wind.”

She and William pretend to play bongo drums, stand next to a Bob Marley statue and kick a ball around. They stand mute as Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness tells them that, basically, Britain is useless: “There are issues here which are, as you would know, unresolved.”

Holness says Jamaica is “moving on” with its ambitions to become an ‘independent, developed, prosperous country’. Kate’s face freezes as a previously friendly Jamaican politician sitting next to her at the airport—William is inspecting something—suddenly cuts her dead† (The MP denies it, but not in a good way.)

William tells a Kingston audience that slavery is terrible, although he doesn’t mention recent calls for repairs. “I want to express my profound sorrow,” he said. “Slavery was abhorrent, and it should never have happened.”

Like many people at their sentencing hearing, William has used that fatal passive tense. Slavery happened. Who made it happen? None, apparently.

It’s a shame he can’t mention race in his own family, might have come in handy if a certain remark about his brother’s child hadn’t been made.

That night, Kate wears another dress. Unlike Diana’s beautiful and distinctive clothes, Kate’s clothes are truly royal, anti-fashion in that no one outside the royal family would quite comprehend them.

They keep her below the media parapet—an understandable wish, given Diana’s fate—as do William’s boring suits bursting off his blocky body, and the couple’s matching personalities. The couple has never said an interesting thing unless you count William’s japes about rainfall.

I may be wrong though. Kate wears a featureless aqua dress and the Mail runs 16 photos of it, praising its diplomacy and deft political touch.

On Twitter, someone very sad or a palace staffer — same difference—says, “OK, I cannot be the only person who saw Catherine’s new Alexander McQueen lace dress and also thought of Her Majesty’s iconic white lace dress she wore at a garden party in Australia in 1954?”

It’s unfair to pick on Kate but my definition of feminism is not “mock William first.” William is selectively mute, an Easter Island statue. How did Diana produce him?

What are royal tours now? Anachronistic beyond parody, they are the price Kate and William and Charles and Camilla and Sophie and Anne pay to live an unimaginably cushy hamster life, rolling around in jammy wood chips and riding a wheel of pound sterling euphoria.

That’s fine. But not for the rest of us in Britain’s ex-colonies, who have to watch these camp scenes. Why don’t the royals just give Canadians a career-ending slap and sail home?


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