Prince William Releases Unprecedented Statement at Close of Caribbean Tour

This move shows “what sort of king he will be,” royal expert Richard Kay wrote.

Prince William and Kate Middleton
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Marie Claire reported yesterday that the future of the British monarchy belongs with the Cambridges—and, as the couple concluded their eight-day, three-country Caribbean tour yesterday, it seems a new way of doing things is already underway.

As the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge departed the Bahamas yesterday for home in the U.K., Prince William released an unprecedented, landmark statement about the future governance of Commonwealth nations like Belize, Jamaica, and the Bahamas, from where he and wife Kate Middleton just visited. “Foreign tours are an opportunity to reflect,” he began. “You learn so much.”

It is rare, if not unheard of, for a member of the royal family to reflect in this way on a royal tour, let alone so soon after its conclusion.

“I know that this tour has brought into even sharper focus questions about the past and the future,” the statement read, per PEOPLE. “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.”

He continued that the couple is committed to service, which “for us, that’s not telling people what to do,” William wrote. “It is about serving and supporting them in whatever way they think best, by using the platform we are lucky to have.”

The statement concluded that who the Commonwealth countries choose to lead 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,” he wrote.

The statement showed William and Kate were not only aware of the controversy surrounding the tour but were listening and willing to address it. It’s the Duke of Cambridge giving the world a first glimpse of what a monarchy will look like when he is king someday, wrote Richard Kay of The Daily Mail

While Kay wrote that, in reading the statement, he could sense the “unhappiness certainly at the criticism that has been levelled at him and Kate for the public relations missteps that marred their Caribbean tour,” but, at the same time, Kay continued, “he has given us a glimpse of the kind of thoughtful man William, at 39, is turning into and, crucially, what sort of king he will be. When was the last time—if ever—a senior member of the royal family went on record to acknowledge mistakes?”

It harkens back to the royal family’s famous “never complain, never explain” mentality, but, in this statement, Kay wrote, William acknowledged the tour’s missteps and was willing to engage with criticism. “He wants us to see that he and Kate will not turn away from censure, but rather learn from it,” Kay wrote.

“It is highly unusual for a statement to be issued at the conclusion of a tour and when the cheers of the crowds in the Bahamas were almost still audible,” Kay continued.

“And he showed that, when trouble does come along, he is prepared to take the initiative and that he is listening,” Kay wrote.

Both William and Kate will certainly be reflecting on the tour in the days to come, as they head home to their three children and Mother’s Day in the U.K., which is today.

Rachel Burchfield
Rachel Burchfield

Rachel Burchfield is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the weekend editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.