Kate Middleton and Prince William Arrive in the Bahamas After an Intense Visit to Jamaica

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will wrap their Caribbean tour on Saturday

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge
Prince William and Kate Middleton. Photo: Samir Hussein/WireImage

Kate Middleton and Prince William are kicking off the final leg of their Caribbean tour with a visit to the Bahamas.

Upon their arrival, they received a ceremonial welcome and were then whisked away for a meeting with Bahamas' Prime Minister Philip Davis.

Just as she has done during previous stops on the tour, Kate paid tribute to the colors of her host country's flag in an aquamarine dress by Emilia Wickstead (her second of the day!).

The couple were welcomed by a young local: 8-year-old Aniah Moss presented the couple with a bouquet of flowers at the foot of the Royal Air Force Voyager jet.

"[Kate] said I had a nice dress and I was beautiful and thank you for the flowers," Aniah tells PEOPLE. Asked what she thought of the royals, she adds, "I think they're very tall!"

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge
Prince William and Kate Middleton are greeted by 8-year-old Aniah Moss in the Bahamas on May 24, 2022. Samir Hussein/WireImage

Aniah's mother, Kendenique Campbell-Moss, says her daughter was asked to perform the flower girl duty without a chaperone: "She was all on her own like a big girl!"

Noting that Aniah is the same age as William and Kate's eldest son Prince George, Campbell-Moss says, "He'd like it here for the sand and sea." The proud mother adds that the dress was bought for Easter last year. "When we were called last night to be the flower girl, I thought I better pull it out and make sure she's ready for the day!"

Aniah Moss. Simon Perry

During their visit, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will take part in The Bahamas Platinum Jubilee Sailing Regatta in Nassau, meet with one of William's Earthshot Prize winners, Coral Vita, on Grand Bahama Island, and see their ground-breaking ideas for restoring and preserving reefs and see firsthand how people in Abaco coped in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in 2019.

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge
Prince William and Kate Middleton. Samir Hussein/WireImage

For the first time, the royal couple are facing significant backlash on an official tour. Although they have received warm welcomes from many locals during their visits to Belize and Jamaica, they are also encountering mounting tensions in the Caribbean nations where William's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, remains head of state.

Ahead of their arrival in Belize, anti-colonial protests forced them to cancel one of their first outings. And in Jamaica, they faced calls for reparations and for the Queen to be dropped as head of state from Jamaica.

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge
Kate Middleton and Prince William pose with the Prime Minister of The Bahamas, Philip Davis, and his wife Ann-Marie Davis. Chris Jackson/Getty

At a dinner at King's House, the official residence of the Governor-General of Jamaica, William made a landmark speech in which he acknowledged Britain's role in the trafficking of people to the Caribbean and the United States.

"I want to express my profound sorrow. Slavery was abhorrent. And it should never have happened," he said

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness watch as Prince William, Duke of Cambridge speaks on stage during a dinner hosted by the Governor General of Jamaica at King's House. Samir Hussein/WireImage

His address came after a meeting with Jamaica's Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, who directly addressed his country's intention to break away from the British monarchy.

They may also face more criticism during their two-day visit. Ahead of their arrival, the Bahamas National Reparations Committee (BNRC) released a letter that stated: "The time is now for reparations."

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The rising tide of social and economic justice movements — including calls for slavery reparations and indigenous rights expansion — are rapidly reshaping contemporary views of the monarchy at a time when it is in transition: As Elizabeth, 95, marks 70 years on the throne, William, 39, and Kate, 40, are increasingly the modern face of both the family and the institution.

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