Kate Middleton and Prince William Arrive in Jamaica amid Protests and Call for Slavery Reparations

A movement to remove Queen Elizabeth as head of state of Jamaica is reportedly gaining traction

After three days in Belize, Kate Middleton and Prince William arrived in Jamaica on Tuesday for the next leg of their Caribbean tour, which will conclude with a visit to the Bahamas on Thursday.

The couple received a ceremonial welcome and were greeted by dignitaries upon their arrival. The Duchess of Cambridge changed mid-flight into a yellow dress by Roksanda, paying tribute to her host country's flag colors. (She wore red earlier in the day to honor Belize).

As they touched down at Norman Manley International Airport in the RAF VIP Voyager jet, a protest calling for slavery reparations from the British monarchy was taking place just miles away in Jamaica's capital city of Kingston.

The demonstration outside the British High Commission was reportedly arranged by the Advocates Network, a human rights coalition of Jamaican activists and equalities organizations. The coalition has also written an open letter signed by major figures in Jamaica calling for the British monarchy to pay slave reparations as the country marks its 60th anniversary of independence from Great Britain.

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Kate Middleton and Prince William. Chris Jackson/Getty

Kate and William's visit to Jamaica also comes amid reports that the Caribbean country is making moves to drop Queen Elizabeth as head of state.

Kate Middleton and Prince William arrive in Jamaica. Chris Jackson/Getty

Sources tell PEOPLE that William and Kate are aware of the situation and the protests. Any decision about becoming a republic is for the people and government of Jamaica, the sources point out. But William is expected to acknowledge the issue of slavery in his speech on Wednesday evening.

prince william and kate Middleton
Kate Middleton. Chris Jackson/Getty

Co-organizer Nora Blake told The Independent: "It is important as we turn 60 years old as an independent nation that we stand as 'adults' on solid ethical, moral and human justice grounds to say to Britain, who was once our "parent," that you have done wrong in enriching yourselves off of chattel slavery and colonialism."

"Morally this requires an apology, and it is only just that reparations be made. Many precedents have been set for this," she continued. "Today we are setting the conversation of our future generations, for them to have something to build a brighter future."

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Protests in Jamaica on March 22, 2022 as Prince William and Kate Middleton tour the Caribbean. RICARDO MAKYN/AFP via Getty Images

According to The Independent, "a coalition of Jamaican politicians, business leaders, doctors and musicians" are pressing for the country to formally sever ties with the monarchy and change the country's status from a constitutional monarchy to a republic. The coalition has also sent an open letter to Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Ahead of the island nation's 60th year of independence from Great Britain on Aug. 6, campaigners are intent on "removing the shackles of [Jamaica's] colonial past," according to the report, with many in the country demanding both financial reparations and a formal apology from the monarchy.

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Protests erupt in Jamaica as Prince William and Kate Middleton arrive during tour of Caribbean. RICARDO MAKYN/AFP via Getty Images

Over the weekend, William and Kate were forced to cancel one of the first stops during their visit to Belize amid anti-colonial protests and an ongoing land-rights dispute between the Maya people and a charity supported by Prince William.

The couple quickly pivoted, continuing on with their tour, which included a visit to a family-run cacao farm, a beach-side festival with the Garifuna community, a tour of the ancient Mayan ruins of Caracol and an evening reception alongside Prime Minister Johnny Briceño.

The protests are only the latest evidence of the historic shift underway: Another Caribbean country, Barbados, broke ties with the Queen in November—voting in its first president—and there are rumblings that Jamaica might follow suit.

During their two days in Jamaica, William and Kate are set to celebrate the "seminal legacy of Bob Marley," Kensington Palace says.

Kate will also bring the work on behalf of early childhood development to Jamaica when they head to Shortwood Teacher's College, where they hope to highlight the country's work on behalf of children.

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Kate Middleton and Prince William depart from Belize. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

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Their first stop in Jamaica was to see Governor-General, Sir Patrick Allen. Sir Patrick, the Queen's representative in the country, and his wife Lady Denise Allen greeted the couple at King's House.

"We are very pleased to welcome you," Sir Patrick told the couple. "We are very fortunate in Jamaica to have the Queen visit us six times."

During the meeting, William carried out a duty on behalf of his grandmother the Queen — an investiture of Jubilee medals, honoring the careers of the heads of the various emergency services and the chief medical officer.

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Prince William and Kate Middleton visit the Governor General of Jamaica Sir Patrick Allen and wife Lady Allen at Kings House. Paul Edwards/getty

"These are three countries with which Her Majesty has had an extremely warm relationship following multiple visits throughout her reign," a palace spokeswoman says of the couple's Caribbean tour. "Those trips have helped to provide inspiration for many of the engagements that Their Royal Highnesses will carry out during their tour."

"As well as thanking the people of Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas for their support, across this eight-day tour, the Duke and Duchess's program will focus on celebrating the rich cultures that are unique to these three countries," the spokeswoman adds.

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