Prince Edward and Countess of Wessex go to church on third day of Caribbean tour

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Sophie Wessex was the picture of summer chic today as she joined her husband Prince Edward at church in St Lucia on the third day of their Caribbean tour. 

The Countess, 57, sported a white polka dot tee dress and brushed her hair back into a low ponytail while her husband, 58,  sported a suit as they attended the service at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church.

The couple are on a seven-day tour of the Caribbean to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee this year and will be hoping to drum up support for the monarchy in the region with growing republican movements.

Sophie Wessex was the picture of summer chic today as she joined her husband Prince Edward at church in St Lucia on the third day of their Caribbean tour

Sophie Wessex was the picture of summer chic today as she joined her husband Prince Edward at church in St Lucia on the third day of their Caribbean tour

The Countess of Wessex, 57, sported a white polka tee dress and brushed her hair back into a low ponytail while her husband, 58, sported a suit as they attended the service at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church

The Countess of Wessex, 57, sported a white polka tee dress and brushed her hair back into a low ponytail while her husband, 58, sported a suit as they attended the service at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church

They landed in St Lucia on  Friday where they received a warm welcome with a red carpet rolled out before travelling to Edward and Sophie St Vincent and the Grenadines yesterday – where they initially had a warm welcome but were met by a  group of around 15 protesters who displayed placards as they made their way to Government House on the island.

Today, they were back in St Lucia to be  received by Arch Deacon Christian Glasgow.

The Earl and Countess will also visit Morne Fortune, a Saint Lucia National Trust site, where they will be shown the monuments to St Lucian Nobel Laureates, Sir W Arthur Lewis and Sir Derek Walcott and learn more about the country’s history.

Sophie and Edward are also scheduled to Antigua and after the 11th hour postponement of the Grenada leg of their trip.

The couple, pictured this morning,  are on a seven-day tour of the Caribbean to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee this year and will be hoping to drum up support for the monarchy in the region with growing republican movements

The couple, pictured this morning,  are on a seven-day tour of the Caribbean to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee this year and will be hoping to drum up support for the monarchy in the region with growing republican movements

The couple are on a seven-day tour of the Caribbean to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee this year and will be hoping to drum up support for the monarchy in the region with growing republican movements

The couple are on a seven-day tour of the Caribbean to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee this year and will be hoping to drum up support for the monarchy in the region with growing republican movements

The Platinum Jubilee tour was organised to mark the Queen’s 70-year reign, and it comes shortly after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were criticised for some elements of their recent Caribbean tour, deemed to hark back to colonial days.

Sophie and Edward were greeted in the sunshine by the deputy prime minister Dr Ernest Hilaire and the ADC to the governor general Captain Cyril Saltibus after they disembarked their British Airways flight at Saint Lucia’s Hewanorra International Airport on Friday afternoon.

Sophie, wearing a red dress, joined her husband as they walked down the red carpet to a platform, where Edward stood to receive the guard of honour while the island’s police band performed the country’s national anthem.

Today, they were back in St Lucia to be received by Arch Deacon Christian Glasgow.

Today, they were back in St Lucia to be received by Arch Deacon Christian Glasgow.

The Platinum Jubilee tour was organised to mark the Queen's 70-year reign, and it comes shortly after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were criticised for some elements of their recent Caribbean tour, deemed to hark back to colonial days

The Platinum Jubilee tour was organised to mark the Queen’s 70-year reign, and it comes shortly after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were criticised for some elements of their recent Caribbean tour, deemed to hark back to colonial days

The pair are also met the prime minister of Saint Lucia Philip Pierre and the acting governor general Cyril Errol Melchiades Charles later on Friday.

Yesterday, the red carpet was rolled out yet again as the Earl and Countess of Wessex arrived at Argyle International Airpor, while steel drums playing One Love by Bob Marley welcomed them to the island.

However not everyone seem too impressed by their arrival, as Sophie was forced to duck from a swooping Amazona guildingii – the island’s national bird – during a visit to the botanical gardens.

As she entered the aviary, the countess was unaware of one bird resting on the cage above her.

The royal couple - who share children Louise and James - are seen walking into the church

The royal couple – who share children Louise and James – are seen walking into the church

Before she was followed into the enclosure by her husband the Earl of Wessex, it swooped down just over the top of her head, forcing her to immediately duck down. Her sunglasses fell forwards onto her face to the sound of laughter from those present.

Sophie did eventually get used to the bird, however, and by the end of her tour, she was feeding them from the palm of her hand.

The week-long tour will see Sophie and Edward ‘meet communities, local entrepreneurs and craftspeople, and young people’ as well as athletes training for the Commonwealth Games.

A banner was placed outside the church appearing to welcome the couple to the sunny Caribbean island

A banner was placed outside the church appearing to welcome the couple to the sunny Caribbean island

The Earl and Countess (pictured in church this morning) will also visit Morne Fortune, a Saint Lucia National Trust site, where they will be shown the monuments to St Lucian Nobel Laureates, Sir W Arthur Lewis and Sir Derek Walcott and learn more about the country's history

The Earl and Countess (pictured in church this morning) will also visit Morne Fortune, a Saint Lucia National Trust site, where they will be shown the monuments to St Lucian Nobel Laureates, Sir W Arthur Lewis and Sir Derek Walcott and learn more about the country’s history

No further details were given for Thursday’s postponement of the Grenada leg of the tour.

It is understood that the planning of the royal tour involved discussions between the host countries, royal officials and other parties.

The chairman of the Antigua and Barbuda Reparations Support Commission, Dorbrene O’Marde has told a local radio station: ‘Essentially, it supports the positions taken by other…people as far as the issue of reparation is concerned and the inability of the absence of an apology from the Crown both as family and as an institution for their role in the enslavement of African people in the slave trade and in the slavery of African people.’ 

Sophie looked effortlessly chic as she sported the white dress with a clutch bag to the Sunday service

Sophie looked effortlessly chic as she sported the white dress with a clutch bag to the Sunday service

Sophie and Edward, pictued today,  are also scheduled to Antigua and after the 11th hour postponement of the Grenada leg of their trip

Sophie and Edward, pictued today,  are also scheduled to Antigua and after the 11th hour postponement of the Grenada leg of their trip

It follows Prince William and Kate Middleton’s trip to the region last month, which saw the couple face backlash over ‘avoidable PR’ errors.

William and Kate were greeted as rock stars in Belize, Jamaica and now The Bahamas – with cheering crowds chanting ‘we love you’ – but they also faced challenges in three nations with burgeoning campaigns for complete independence from the UK and demands for slave trade reparations.

There were several missteps, including pictures of the couple shaking hands with black children through a wire fence in Trench Town, Jamaica. They were also accused of taking part in ‘colonial-style’ photo opportunity by riding around in a 1953 Land Rover inspecting troops, with William wearing military uniform.

Prince Edward, who is the Queen's youngest son, appeared to speak at the church service this morning

Prince Edward, who is the Queen’s youngest son, appeared to speak at the church service this morning

 The future king was also accused of being ‘tone deaf’ and not showing the ‘courage’ to apologise for the slave trade in a landmark speech, while the opening event in Belize had to be postponed because of protests. 

The jubilee schedule is one of the first signs of the new look monarchy, with Prince Andrew and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex previously making similar overseas trips. 

The Queen, who no longer flies, would not have been expected to travel, but it’s rare for Wessexes to do a high profile joint overseas tour that might have otherwise been handed to Harry and Meghan.

It’s long been believed that Prince Charles will ‘slim down’ the monarchy when he becomes king to eight key members.

The trips to the Caribbean islands will see the senior royals on a charm offensive following in a bid to shore up support for the monarchy in the region. 

In November, Prince Charles visited Barbados for a ceremony to mark its historic decision to remove the Queen as head of state. 

Other Commonwealth countries in the region, including Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Dominica, already have their own heads of state. 

Last year, John Briceno, the Prime Minister of Belize, did not rule out his nation following suit, saying: ‘We need to find what fits Belize best.’ 

 

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