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Wessexes' tour was cancelled because 'it wouldn't showcase Grenada and Queen'

NewsWessexes' tour was cancelled because 'it wouldn't showcase Grenada and Queen'

The royal couple were set to visit Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines during the six-day long tour but a last-minute announcement saw Grenada struck from the list.

Speculation has been growing over why the visit was postponed after the Palace failed to provide a reason.

Buckingham Palace’s statement, just one day before the tour began, read: “In consultation with the government of Grenada and on the advice of the Governor-General, The Earl and Countess of Wessex’s visit to Grenada has been postponed. The Earl and Countess hope to visit at a later date.”

The suggestion to postpone was made by Grenada after advice from the Governor-General, who is the Queen’s representative on the island.

It is understood to have followed discussions between the palace and the host Caribbean countries over the couple’s itinerary.

Part of the process was to ensure the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee would be honoured and it is believed during those talks that the postponement was then suggested.

Daily Express royal correspondent Richard Palmer said: “Royal tours are being revamped in the fallout from the Cambridges’ Caribbean trip. Grenada’s government asked for Edward and Sophie’s visit to be postponed because it felt it wouldn’t meet the twin objectives of showcasing the island nation and celebrating the Queen’s jubilee.

“Grenada has a slavery reparations campaign group like other Caribbean nations. So there may have been concerns about protests but my understanding is the main stumbling block was the Grenadian government thought an eight-hour visit to the country was too expensive and inadequate”.

Grenada has a national reparations commission which includes scholars, and civil and human rights activists committed to seeking reparations for people of African descent in Grenada and throughout the Caribbean region.

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Some sources believe Grenada’s Government called off the visit after officials complained the royal couple were only planning to spend a few hours in the country during their week-long tour.

One source said: “There were concerns it was going to be very expensive for taxpayers in Grenada and they were only coming for eight hours.”

The postponement came just days after the National Reparations Committee wrote to Governor-General Dame Cecile La Grenade requesting a meeting with the Earl and Countess to discuss matters specific to the work of the Committee.

Arley Gill, chairman of the committee, said: “Yes, we wrote requesting an audience. We are awaiting a response and now we are learning that the trip is postponed. I don’t know what is the reason behind this postponement but I believe that our request played a role”.

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Research by the Bank of England recently revealed that it once owned as many as 599 slaves on two estates in Grenada.

Mr Gill said the recent evaluation didn’t speak well for the royal visit.

However, the Earl and Countess still intend to visit Antigua on their royal tour despite Prime Minister Gaston Brown calling for his country – and the other seven Caribbean nations where the Queen is head of state – to replace the monarchy with home-born elected presidents.

In Antigua, the royals will meet the national rowing team.

They also plan to meet athletes training for next year’s Commonwealth Games in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

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