Will and Kate's Jamaican Tour
Footnotes on the pair's fashionable jaunt mingling polished ponytails, unique fashion notes, racial controversies, a Queen's demotion, and a grandson's rejected apology
Before we dive into the dark, dismal confines of Hunter Biden’s laptop this week, I wanted to offer a more digestible appetizer on this lovely Sunday afternoon by way of British royalty igniting the return of Grace Kellyesque glamour during their eight day tour of Jamaica. One that came paired with perfected ponytails, poised pantsuits, and the refreshing fact of Kate Middleton’s constant and infectious smile throughout this trip.
Please let us also note how the two of them seem to genuinely enjoy each other’s company. A wholesome detail that stands in stark contrast to all the recent KimYe dramas we’ve been subjected to lately.
Style wise, Kate’s tour wardrobe is the best I’ve ever seen her. I honestly don’t remember the last time I was this enchanted by anyone’s style picks. So much that I actually woke up each morning excited to see what she’d worn to what engagement the day before. It reminded me of the kind of enthusiasm I formally reserved for Oscar night over a decade ago. Interest that has sadly shriveled now to the point of indifference.
Speaking of … it’s on tonight and I haven’t thought once about how I’m going to watch. Is this because Kate has been satisfying all of my revived high glamour cravings that peaked after watching Julie Fox tutorials on how to make tacky pieces even tackier by cutting them in half.
I’m sorry but watching a Hanes wife beater become a horrific two pice doesn't do it for me. And for the love of God, how many more suffocating latex catsuits and bat winged sunglasses can we as a public possibly stomach?
Kate in her dazzling gowns = style saint here to save us.
Kate’s pink moment is probably her most viral from the trip. She’s breathtaking in the dress designed by Nick Cave’s wife, Susie. And this is coming from a woman who traditionally hates pink.
But her in the green ruffled gown was my top pick. I love the low slung bun complemented by borrowed jewels from her majesty’s personal collection. The earrings she is wearing here still belong to the Queen.
If I had a granddaughter-in-law as well behaved as Kate I’d let her dig around my jewelry box too.
“For the occasion, Kate turned to one of her most trusted designers, Jenny Packham, who created a bespoke gown for the royal. The green off-the-shoulder dress featured a ruffled neckline and full tulle skirt, with a sprinkling of sequins down the bodice.
The duchess finished off her fairy-tale look with glittering emerald and diamond earrings and a matching bracelet, which were loaned to her by the Queen for the special event. She wore her hair up in an intricate bun, allowing the heirloom earrings to really shine.”
To be completly transparent, I wasn’t always a big Kate fan. Rather I found her a bit boring because of her stiffly perfected beauty. How she seemed determined to not ever miss a step or take a risk. Not in words, hair, or wardrobe which felt a little too cautious for my own tastes. But like everything these days that opinion has changed to where I now appreciate her studied dedication to her role. I also like that she smiles with her whole face. Keeps her botox at a minimal. Doesn’t go crazy with fillers or over plumped lip injections and owns her toned, rested, healthily aging beauty in an admirable and realistic way (But also I’m impressed with anyone in the public eye who hasn’t morphed into a surgically enhanced version of themselves)
Kate, still looks like Kate. Only older and more confident. At 40, she is the perfect balance of refined British glamour edged by a humble sensibility I think makes her easily likable in the varied situations she inhabits.
I also adore how attentive and respectable she is with the Queen. I think, based simply solely on my stellar intuition, that Diana would have loved her too.
However, the trip was not all fashion and fawning. In fact it turned out to be a lot more complicated and controversial than anticipated by both the media and the Monarchy. Causing a handful of scheduled appearances to be cancelled due to on site protests rejecting their visit.
Officially, the trip was meant to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee in honor of her 70 years on the throne. But many observers viewed the trip as an attempt to persuade three faltering countries to keep the Queen on as head of state. And not follow in Barbados footsteps which transitioned to a republic last November.
How is Prince William and Kate’s visit sparking controversy?
“Prince William and Kate arrived in Jamaica, the second stop of their trip, on March 22. Only a day later, The Independent reported that the Jamaican government had begun the process of transitioning the island nation—which is the largest English speaking country in the Caribbean—to a republic.
The news arrived at a difficult moment for the royals. The day before the couple’s arrival in the country, one hundred Jamaican academics, politicians, and cultural figures signed an open letter calling for the royal family and British government to apologize and pay reparations for subjecting the island to colonial rule and slavery.
“We are of the view an apology for British crimes against humanity, including but not limited to the exploitation of the indigenous people of Jamaica, the transatlantic trafficking of Africans, the enslavement of Africans, indentureship and colonialization is necessary to begin a process of healing, forgiveness, reconciliation and compensation,” the letter said.
The letter’s consignatories describe Prince William and Kate as “direct beneficiaries of the wealth accumulated by the royal family…from the trafficking and enslavement of Africans”. In reference to the Queen’s Jubilee, the letter reads: “We see no reason to celebrate 70 years of the ascension of your grandmother to the British throne because her leadership, and that of her predecessors, has perpetuated the greatest human rights tragedy in the history of humankind.”
Why do campaigners no longer want the Queen as head of state?
“Although the Queen’s role in Commonwealth realms is largely symbolic, attitudes towards the royal family are varied and complex. Wickham says that although Elizabeth herself is quite popular in many Caribbean countries, she is perceived as “not really relevant.”
“We don’t have a problem with her or even monarchy as such,” he says. “Most of us think she’s all the way in England and there’s no reason why we should maintain her as head of state.”
Some believe that keeping the Queen as head of state undermines independence, and only serves to perpetuate colonial subservience. “Imagine being given independence, and then to be told as an adult nation, that the Queen still had a stake in Jamaica and that the island is not really free. It is still an infant colony,” Jamaican-born British writer and academic Dr. Velma McClymont told TIME.
Calls for republicanism have been growing in Jamaica, which celebrates its 60-year anniversary of independence from Britain this year. According to leader of the Jamaican opposition, Mark Golding, the killing of George Floyd in 2020 and the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests reignited conversations around national identity in Jamaica, whose population is over 90% Black.
“There are strong feelings that the royal family should apologize for their involvement with the slave trade and the plantation system which our people went through for a few hundred years,” Golding tells TIME. “I think it would enhance the cohesiveness of the relationship going forward.”
Golding says that although William and Kate’s trip to Jamaica may have been more “fraught” than they expected, he hopes it was a revelatory experience for the couples at the center of the royal family’s future. “I hope that they will realize that a better future can be assured by some introspection and reflection on the past, and the role of the institution of which they are now key members.”
The British High Commission’s planed their protests to coincide with the couple’s arrival, welding banners that read “#SehYuhSorry and make REPARATIONS.”Prompting an apology from Prince William stating: “Slavery was abhorrent and it never should have happened. 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.”
The Advocates Network issued a statement in response, calling the Prince’s words “unacceptable,” adding: “There was no responsibility taken! No call out of centuries of British bloody conquest and plunder.”
Reiterating how the changing times continue to shake up debate about the lasting future of the Monarchy. A feat Prince Charles plans to address with some modern tweaks and major down-paring once he finally takes the throne.
A Round up of Tour Style Fact & Footnotes Leaning on Sentimental Tribute
Kate channeled Laura Croft in her take on sleek safari while touring Belize's Caracol ruins. Pairing the white T-shirt and army green pants with white Superga sneakers
During her first full day of the tour in Belize, Kate rocked a colorful Tory Burch printed dress that sold out immediately. Priced at $37.
Kate has often relied on her official wardrobe to convey messages and to pay tributes. On arriving in each country of her Caribbean tour she wore an outfit consisting of a color featured on the national flag of her host nation.
While enjoying a day of activities in Kingston, Jamaica, Kate wore a colorful printed sundress thought to be an upcycled vintage piece from the 1950s.
A perfect pantsuit moment in white Alexander McQueen while out in Jamaica.
On her way out of Jamaica, Kate glowed in a recycled kelly green dress with a large hummingbird brooch, also on loan from Queen Elizabeth. Kate previously wore the dress to Wimbledon last year. The first look of the tour that's been recycled.
William and Kate inspected the parade ground from the back of an open top Land Rover which was used by both the Queen and Prince Philip during their visits to Jamaica in 1968 and 2002.
The outfits worn by the Queen Mother on her 1938 Paris tour have become known as "The White Wardrobe" and include some of the most famous dresses in royal fashion history. They are still kept by Elizabeth II in her private collection and very rarely displayed in exhibitions. Kate's white lace dress and picture hat worn to the Jamaican commissioning parade have close aesthetic links to this most famous royal tour wardrobe. And, this is not the first time that links have been made between both Kate and Hartnell's designs. Pearls from Diana’s collection lent to her by the Queen.
And my favorite footnote: Before catching their flight to Jamaica from Belize, Kate Donned a red vintage Yves Saint Laurent blazer believed to have been purchased during her college days. Paired with white flared trousers and a compact white handbag.