Kate Middleton and Prince William Attend Junkanoo Parade in The Bahamas: 'That Was Amazing'

kate middleton
Kate Middleton. Photo: Toby Melville - Pool / Getty Images

Despite the torrential rain, Kate Middleton and Prince William were determined not to disappoint the well-wishers — or miss the Junkanoo street festival — that had been awaiting them on Bay Street in Nassau, The Bahamas.

As the clouds began to clear, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge ventured out for the first walkabout of their Caribbean tour, which followed a school outing and a visit with healthcare workers who have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Charisma Thompson, 46, who was there with friends, chatted with William during the lively parade in Parliament Square.

"He said, 'Thank you for your patience and sorry for the weather,' and we said, 'It's not your fault,' " Thompson shared. "We told him we love him and Kate and we didn't mind waiting. He was loving the excitement and you could see it was exciting for him."

"We know there are people here and in Jamaica who have a problem with them and are unhappy. But it's not his fault. We are loving people and caring people and respect them and love the Queen," adds Thompson, who works in sales at a Nassau store. "We are moving on for better days."

Prince William
Prince William. Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty

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

In addition to locals who came out to see the Duke and Duchess, tourists on vacation were also treated to the royal celebration.

A family on vacation from Chicago shrieked with delight after William stopped and chatted with them. Harrison Carter, 10, stood with sister Francesca and mother Sharon in the rain ahead of the royals' arrival.

kate middleton
Kate Middleton. Toby Melville - Pool / Getty Images

"You're soaked," William told him. "He said, 'At least when it rains here, it's still warm,'" Sharon added. "We're staying on the island — it was pure chance that they were visiting. We're big fans of the monarchy and it's made our day to see them."

Sherial Madonna, a sales professional in Nassau who shook William's hand, said, "It was an honor to meet him — he was so gentle with the way he was with everyone."

"It's so awesome that they took time out to see us. It means the world to us. Some people feel that the monarchy should end here, but I'm relaxed about it. It's been going for so long and I love all the pomp and ceremony and the connection to Britain that means some students can go over and study, for example," she added. "We're happy that they're here. And we put on a good show."

On the other side of the street, Kate charmed the crowds.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge enjoying the Junkanoo carnival atmosphere with Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
Kate Middleton. Karwai Tang/WireImage

Rachelle Gibson, a supervisor at Excalibur Christian School in Nassau, said: "She shook all the children's hands and apologized for being late. She told us they had just come from a school and the rain held them up."

Maqayro Rolle, 11, said: "It was amazing. It doesn't matter we are wet." Drea Roberts, 17, added: "It was a great experience — she held my hand and I feel so happy. She was really friendly. I like her and how she had a voice. It was the best day."

Following the celebration, William and Kate shared a trio of photos on Twitter, writing, "Thank you Bay Street. That was amazing."

The couple's visit to The Bahamas comes after an intense three-day trip to Jamaica, which saw 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

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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.

Ahead of their arrival to The Bahamas, the Bahamas National Reparations Committee (BNRC) released a letter that stated: "The time is now for reparations."

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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