William and Kate become bobsleigh royals as they celebrate Jamaican sport and culture

The Cambridges arrived in Jamaica to a much publicised demonstration calling on the monarchy pay reparations for his role in slavery on the island.

23 March 2022

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge tried out a bobsleigh made for two under the watchful eye of Jamaica’s latest Cool Runnings team.

When William clambered into the training sleigh during a visit to Bob Marley’s old Kingston neighbourhood of Trench Town, Kate did not hesitate and jumped in behind him.

Chatting to women and men from the bobsleigh team they talked about the popular movie Cool Runnings which immortalised the 1988 Jamaican Winter Olympics team.

Royal visit to the Caribbean – Day 4
Kate watches from the sidelines as William and England striker Raheem Stirling play with local footballers. Jane Barlow/PA

The duke, who is touring the Caribbean with the duchess to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee said: “One of our favourites, ahh so good.”

The future king also played with one of his sporting heroes England and Manchester City in a match with local young footballers.

The Cambridges arrived in Jamaica to a much publicised demonstration calling on the monarchy pay reparations for his role in slavery on the island.

Kingston-born Stirling received a rapturous applause whenever he touched the ball and their were screams for the duke – and a few ironic ones when he fluffed a shot.

Dozens of locals stood behind a wire fence to watch the sporting spectacle unfold and others sat on roofs to get a better view.

Royal visit to the Caribbean – Day 4
William took to the pitch to alongside the England star. Jane Barlow/PA

The footballer, was been given special dispensation by England manager Gareth Southgate to travel to Jamaica ahead of the national team playing at the weekend, and he was joined on the pitch by a player from William’s beloved Aston Villa team Jamaican Leon Bailey.

The England striker, who was mobbed by the spectators, said about his manager: “He said to me an opportunity like is a great one and it’s an experience that will live with you forever.”

He was there as part of his efforts to improve social mobility for young people. His Raheem Sterling Foundation has set out plans to work with partners in Jamaica, Manchester and London to give disadvantaged youths opportunities to break out of poverty.

When William, president of the Football Association, was first taken over to meet Sterling and Bailey, he turned to Kate and said: “Two heroes of mine. These two are the fastest in the team.”

Later William and Kate travelled to reggae legend Bob Marley’s home and now a museum, and played drums with some reggae musicians in the courtyard where Jamaica’s biggest superstar learned to perform.

Royal visit to the Caribbean – Day 4
Aston Villa’s Leon Bailey ahead of the visit of the Duke and Duchess. Jane Barlow/PA

There was mass hysteria in the neighbourhood as the royal couple were mobbed by crowds who chanted: “We love you, we love you” as they walked to Trench Town Culture Yard and Museum in Jamaica’s capital.

The visit to Marley’s former home and the brief match was designed as a celebration of the singer’s twin passions.

Marley, who died in 1981 from skin cancer at the age of 36, was a keen amateur footballer who played regularly in Battersea Park when he lived in London. He supported Tottenham and the Brazilian team Santos.

The royal couple were welcomed to Trench Town by Babsy Grange, minister of culture, gender, entertainment and sport, and Mark Golding, the leader of the opposition and MP for the area.

Inside the museum, Sophie Dowe, one of the directors of the attraction, showed them around the courtyard dwellings where Marley and his friends learned to play music.

William, who like Kate enjoys Marley’s music but is a bigger fan of other types of tunes including hip hop, said: “So much musical history was made here.”

He and Kate went into the room where Marley wrote some of his best known music. They were also shown around the singer’s spartan bedroom, where a stool stood beside a single bed near a mural on a wall.

Before they left, the couple went into a neighbouring courtyard where a group of reggae musicians were singing Rastafarian nyabinghi chants backed by drummers.

Kate was quickly coaxed into trying out a drum but William took more coaxing before joining in a royal jamming session with the singers and other drummers.

During a dinner on Wednesday evening hosted by the Governor General of Jamaica the duke is expected to acknowledge the issue of slavery.

The duke and duchess will attend an official meeting with the Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness during the day, and later travel to Shortwood Teacher Training College for an event that will shine a spotlight on Jamaica’s work on the early years development of children.

William and Kate will also tour Spanish Town Hospital, which is celebrating its 70th birthday this year, and hear first-hand how frontline staff have responded to Covid-19 and how the pandemic has impacted the healthcare system in Jamaica.

More from Perspective

Get a free copy of our print edition


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

Your email address will not be published. The views expressed in the comments below are not those of Perspective. We encourage healthy debate, but racist, misogynistic, homophobic and other types of hateful comments will not be published.