The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have visited a family-run cacao farm in Belize on the second day of their Caribbean tour – with Kate getting stuck in and grinding cacao nibs to make her own chocolate.
William and Kate were shown round the Maya cacao farm in the coastal town of Hopkins in a last-minute addition to their schedule after local protests about ‘colonialism’ meant a planned visit to the Akte’iL Ha cacao farm in the foothills of the Maya mountains had to be cancelled.
The village of Indian Creek has been in open conflict with Flora and Fauna International, a charity which owns an adjoining, contested property. William has been FFI’s patron since 2020, the latest in a line of royals stretching back to George VI.
Villagers are involved in a highly emotional fight against the state and FFI, which works to protect ecosystems worldwide, over the rights to lands lost in the colonial era.
Dressed in a blue shirt and dark blue chinos, Prince William appeared to ask questions while Katie, dressed in a blue floral summer dress, looked on as they were taken round by a farmer on the second day of their eight-day trip round the Caribbean to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
The Duke and Duchess were told all about how the Mayans cultivate cacao trees, process cacao beans and make the chocolate.
The guide at the cacao farm offered a detailed explanation and the process of how cacao beans are extracted from the pods and then fermented and finally dried before they are ready to be processed into chocolate.
Using a large stick, the guide showed them how to successfully crack the cocoa pod in half and said: ‘This is how it’s done’.
As the royal couple watched, Kate said: ‘You make it look so easy’ and William added: ‘If I did that, I’d lose a finger!’
Later on during the visit, Kate got stuck in and was invited to help grind up some cacao nibs during a demonstration using a mano and metate.
Also on Sunday, William and Kate are due to travel to the cultural centre of the Garifuna community in Hopkins.
This beachfront village is known for its welcoming nature and will greet the couple with a demonstration of Garifuna culture.
Acknowledging Belize’s world-famous marine environment, the Cambridges will also spend time learning from conservation specialists about marine protection and the restoration efforts of Belize’s precious barrier reef.
The couple arrived in the country on Saturday and spent around an hour chatting with Prime Minister Johnny Briceno and his wife Rosanna.
They looked relaxed after their 11-hour long-haul trip from the UK and were welcomed by Belize’s Governor General Froyla Tzalam as they stepped from the Voyager ministerial jet.
When the Cambridges met Belize’s prime minister and his wife around an hour later, William said: ‘It’s lovely to be here.’
‘Thanking you so much,’ the Prime Minister replied, adding: ‘We’re so happy you’re here.’
‘There were lots of questions in the car,’ said Kate, laughing, and clearly referring to William.
Pictured: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Hopkins, Belize Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Royal visit to Caribbean
Pictured: William and Kate are on the second day of an eight day tour of the Caribbean to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
The Royal couple planned to visit the Akte’iL Ha cacao farm in the foothills of the Maya mountains but an alternative visit to a different farm in Hopkins (pictured) was planned after locals organised a protest at their presence in the region
The Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William in Hopkins, Belize during their Royal visit to Caribbean
The couple toured the chocolate producer on Sunday and later will travel to the cultural centre of the Garifuna community
The Prime Minister and his wife then invited Kate and William to sit in a lounge area in his office building which overlooks the ocean.
‘It’s such a lovely view,’ said the duchess.
The start of the tour began in controversial circumstances after opposition from villagers, who cited a range of issues including objections to the Cambridge’s helicopter landing site, forced a royal trip to a farm on Sunday to be scrapped.
The visit, designed to bolster links at a time of growing republican sentiment, got off to a rocky start thanks to a row over colonialism.
Despite the rocky start to the trip – and their flight arriving 30 minutes late – the couple smiled as they descended the steps of their plane on Saturday.
Kate wore a blue outfit by designer Jenny Packham and William opted for a light-blue coloured suit as they arrived at Belize City Airport in an RAF Voyager jet.
They received a 21-gun salute quite unlike what they are used to – with three miniature cannons on small, white tables fired by uniformed men pulling on strings. The Duke then inspected a guard of honour.
During the eight-day tour – their first foreign trip together since the start of the pandemic – the couple will also visit Jamaica and the Bahamas. They are travelling with an entourage of 15, including a hairdresser, private secretaries and press team.
The Duchess of Cambridge cut a chic figure in a royal blue dress and matching purse, while the Duke looked smart in a grey suit and tie as they received a warm official welcome at the Belize airport.
The royal couple are on a week-long ‘charm offensive’ in the Caribbean that will also take in Jamaica and the Bahamas.
Duchess of Cambridge pictured arriving in Belize for a week-long Caribbean royal tour
The Duchess of Cambridge arrives at Philip S. W Goldson International Airport, Belize City
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meeting the Prime Minister of Belize Johnny Briceno and wife Rossana, at the Laing Building, Belize City, as they begin their tour of the Caribbean on behalf of the Queen to mark her Platinum Jubilee
Prince William on the tarmac of Belize airport as he kicked off his official tour of the Caribbean
Will and Kate are guided down the red carpet at Belize airport by officials in face masks
William and Kate were greeted on the tarmac by Governor-General Froyla Tzalam and later met Belizean Prime Minister Johnny Briceno
Kate and Will are all smiles as they chat to officials upon arriving to Belize airport
The Duke of Cambridge with the Honour Guard as he arrives at Philip S. W Goldson International Airport, Belize City
William stops to talk to members of the Honour Guard at Belize airport
Local news channel 7 News captures the moment Will and Kate arrived
While the warm sunshine and clear blue waters of the islands beckon, there is much work to be done to bolster support across the Caribbean.
In January, Prince Charles attended a ceremony in Barbados at which the Queen was formally removed as the country’s head of state.
And Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness has said he plans to follow suit, leaving William and Kate with a delicate mission.
The Cambridges have, however, become adept at charm and diplomacy and the trip will emphasise the Royal Family’s long and close links with the Caribbean.
Their spokesman described the three countries they are visiting as those ‘with which Her Majesty has an extremely warm relationship’.
William previously visited Belize 20 years ago as part of his jungle training in the Army. A Palace spokesman said the tour would be ‘a trip down memory lane’ for the Duke.
It has, however, caused some awkwardness at home.
The Mail on Sunday understands that Prince Charles had privately questioned the wisdom of scheduling the visit when he will be making his own historic two-day trip to Ireland. A source said pointedly: ‘How do you compete with the Cambridges in the Caribbean sun?’
The last Royal visit to Belize was a decade ago, when Prince Harry marked the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. He danced at a street party, prompting Bob Marley’s widow, Rita, to describe him as ‘a gift from God’, and he raced Usain Bolt.
Portia Simpson-Miller, Jamaica’s then prime minister who had been demanding an apology from Britain for slavery, became a giggling schoolgirl in his presence.
Will and Kate’s trip, taken at the behest of William’s grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, is intended to strengthen the UK’s ties with Commonwealth countries as the queen marks 70 years on the throne.
They had been due to travel to Indian Creek, home to fewer than 1,000 people.
Kate and Will walk out of the Laing Building after meeting Belize’s Prime Minister Johnny Briceno
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meeting the Prime Minister of Belize Johnny Briceno, at the Laing Building, Belize City
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meeting the Prime Minister of Belize Johnny Briceno and wife Rossana
Kate and Will don face masks en route to meet the prime minister of Belize
William affectionately places hand on Kate’s back as the royal couple leave their meeting with the Belize prime minister
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive at Philip S. W Goldson International Airport, Belize City, on the RAF Voyager
Dozens of Honor Guard officers await for the arrival of Will and Kate at Belize airport
The couple planned to visit the Akte’iL Ha cacao farm in the foothills of the Maya mountains, a prime example of sustainable farming.
But the village of Indian Creek has been in open conflict with Flora and Fauna International, a charity which owns an adjoining, contested property. William has been FFI’s patron since 2020, the latest in a line of royals stretching back to George VI.
Villagers are involved in a highly emotional fight against the state and FFI, which works to protect ecosystems worldwide, over the rights to lands lost in the colonial era.
In particular they are angry about 12,000 acres of land that agents working for FFI have told them is ‘private property’ and not for communal use.
The indigenous Q’eqchi Maya people say they were not consulted about William and Kate’s visit and this week held a community meeting that was followed by yesterday’s protest.
Three Commonwealth nations are preparing to roll out the red carpet for William and Kate ahead of their arrival later today – amid an extraordinary row over indigenous rights. Pictured: Artist Alex Sanker, 51, paints a tribute to Prince William and Kate
But the charm offensive got off to a rocky start yesterday when villagers in Indian Creek (pictured) staged a protest, describing the visit as ‘colonialism’ and a ‘slap in the face’
Sebastian Shol, chairman of Indian Creek village, said: ‘We don’t want them to land on our land, that’s the message that we want to send. They could land anywhere but not on our land.’
Village youth leader Dionisio Shol said the way the visit had been handled raised the issue of ‘colonialism’.
He said: ‘For us it really hits right at home because of the treatment. The organiser said we had to let them use the football field and that people were coming to our village and it had to look good.
‘But they didn’t want to divulge who. Eventually somebody said it was Prince William coming to our village. That’s where the first issue arose. These are high-profile people, we respect them, but they also have to be giving respect to the community leaders. Giving community leaders commands did not sit well with the community.’
They are said to be particularly outraged that William and Kate’s helicopter was given permission to land on their football field without consultation. Pictured: Villagers protest in Belize
Villagers are involved in a highly emotional fight against the state and FFI, which works to protect ecosystems worldwide, over the rights to lands lost in the colonial era. Pictured: Protests in Belize
The indigenous Q’eqchi Maya people say they were not consulted about William and Kate’s visit and this week held a community meeting that was followed by yesterday’s protest
The police refused to allow them to protest during the planned visit tomorrow because of security concerns, so villagers staged a demonstration yesterday carrying banners reading ‘Prince William leave our land’ and ‘Colonial legacy of theft continues with Prince and FFI’
The police refused to allow them to protest during the planned visit tomorrow because of security concerns, so villagers staged a demonstration yesterday carrying banners reading ‘Prince William leave our land’ and ‘Colonial legacy of theft continues with Prince and FFI’.
Dionisio said that although their issue was with the charity, they believed William had to take responsibility as its patron.
There was no comment from Kensington Palace but aides confirmed that the visit had now been scrapped and the couple would make alternative arrangements.
It is understood that the visit, including the landing of the helicopter, was being organised by local officials. FFI is said to have bought the land at the disputed site, Boden Creek, in December last year to protect it, fighting off interest from bidders who wanted to use it for agriculture.
Sources said the ‘ecological integrity’ of Boden Creek was under threat and FFI secured the land for the benefits of conservation, local communities and as a national asset for Belize as a whole.
A spokesman said: ‘FFI will conserve and protect the extraordinary wildlife of Boden Creek, while supporting the livelihoods and traditional rights of local people.
‘Nature protection has to go hand in hand with people’s right to secure their livelihoods and to preserve their traditional and human rights.’
In a statement to the Mail the Government of Belize said: ‘Indian Creek was one of several sites being considered.
‘Due to issues in the village, the Government of Belize activated its contingency planning and another venue has been selected to showcase Maya family entrepreneurship in the cacao industry.’
Prince Charles considers plan to give refugees shelter at Dumfries House estate as senior Royals are united in efforts to help Ukrainians fleeing the horrors of war
By Patricia Kane for the Mail on Sunday
Senior Royals are considering plans to open some of their homes to Ukrainian refugees fleeing the horrors of war.
Aides to the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William are understood to be examining a range of ‘practical measures’, including the possibility of jobs and training courses, as well as providing accommodation.
Charles is said to be looking at finding spaces on his Dumfries House estate in Ayrshire as well as sites across his Duchy of Cornwall holdings, which include a number of holiday homes.
Charles is said to be looking at finding spaces on his Dumfries House estate in Ayrshire (pictured) as well as sites across his Duchy of Cornwall holdings, which include a number of holiday homes
The Queen’s Balmoral estate on Royal Deeside and Sandringham in Norfolk, which are both private and not funded by the taxpayer, could also provide space in holiday-rental cottages and offer temporary tourism-related and hospitality jobs.
A source told The Mail on Sunday: ‘All the households are united in this – the Queen, Charles and William – with all three agreed that they should find a practical way to help Ukrainian refugees.
‘It means looking at accommodation options in England, including the Duchy of Cornwall, where Charles has a lot of holiday homes, and Scotland, where he has Dumfries House and the Queen has her Balmoral estate.’
The Queen, Charles and his wife Camilla and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have all donated to a coalition of 15 British charities working on the Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine appeal.
Charles and William have also spoken out in support of Ukrainians resisting Russian aggression, but it is understood they are keen to do more as Britons prepare to welcome refugees under the Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme.
Charles and William have also spoken out in support of Ukrainians resisting Russian aggression, but it is understood they are keen to do more as Britons prepare to welcome refugees under the Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme. Pictured: Dumfries House
An insider at Dumfries House said the Prince’s Foundation, a charity that manages the 2,000-acre estate, was actively looking at how it could help Ukrainians with work, courses and accommodation.
The estate’s education centre regularly offers training courses in skills from horticulture and sustainable farm practices to engineering. A Royal spokesman last night said: ‘The Royal Household is looking at a number of ways to offer practical help and support.’
The royal family in Belgium last week said it would host three families of Ukrainian refugees. Last year, King Philippe and Queen Mathilde housed some of those who lost their homes in flooding.
William and Kate have also offered to use their Royal Foundation to provide support for Ukrainians with mental health problems after the horrors they have witnessed
Scottish Land & Estates (SLE), a body that represents country estates north of the border, last week said it had received pledges to provide help from more than 40 landowners.
It is understood that SLE approached Balmoral, the Queen’s private 50,000-acre estate, which will open to the public next month and is currently advertising for waiting and housekeeping staff as well as ‘visitor enterprise assistants’ with accommodation provided.
William and Kate have also offered to use their Royal Foundation to provide support for Ukrainians with mental health problems after the horrors they have witnessed. Dee Ward, Vice Chair at SLE, said: ‘As estates are rural businesses, many are in the fortunate position of being able to offer not just accommodation but also employment opportunities.
‘There will be many Ukrainian people with experience and talent in farming, food production and hospitality that can be of real value to our rural communities. We are under no illusion how difficult it will be for Ukrainians coming here, but we want to work with the Scottish and UK governments to provide opportunities for individuals and families wherever we can.’
Prince William and Kate visit Maya cacao farm in Belize on second day of their Platinum Jubilee tour Source link Prince William and Kate visit Maya cacao farm in Belize on second day of their Platinum Jubilee tour