William and Kate marvel at ancient Maya complex in Belize

The historic site, which features thousands of buildings, was discovered in the 1930s by a logger looking for mahogany.

21 March 2022

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have surveyed one of the historical wonders of Belize, and then climbed to the ancient palace’s summit.

William and Kate were given a guided tour of the Maya culture’s version of Buckingham Palace deep in the jungle, which remains the tallest man-made structure in Belize.

The 3,000-year-old royal residence and temple, built by the Maya civilisation, stood at the centre of a city – home to an estimated 150,000 people.

Royal visit to the Caribbean – Day 3
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, with archaeological expert Allan Moore (Jane Barlow/PA)

The couple came casually dressed to climb the steep steps of the pyramid-like structure called Caana, with William in a shirt, trousers and sturdy boots while Kate wore a white top, G Star combat jeans and Superga trainers – and both had Wayfarer Ray Bans.

Allan Moore, associate director of Belize’s Institute of Archaeology, showed the couple around the site which featured other buildings and was discovered in the 1930s by a logger looking for mahogany.

He told them: “It’s like looking at the inside of Buckingham Palace. This is just a small fraction of what we have here.”

During their tour, Mr Moore showed the couple some ancient carvings with the couple pointing out lizards, fish nibbling on water lilies and a feline shape which he explained could have been a jaguar.

Royal visit to the Caribbean – Day 3
William and Kate appeared impressed by the ancient monuments they saw (Jane Barlow/PA)

He also walked them round to an area where the ancient Maya used to play ball games.

Kate could be seen gesturing at the site while at ground level and when they climbed half way up Caana and looked out from a platform, the couple stood with their hands on their hips looking around.

As they caught a glimpse of the vista, the couple marvelled at what they saw. “Wow,” said Kate.

Royal visit to the Caribbean – Day 3
The royal couple, standing midway up the structure on a platform, are dwarfed by the palace-temple (Jane Barlow/PA)

William got the giggles when, as he turned back away from the view – which was being captured by a group of photographers – to find another group the other side of them.

“We got one, one side and another the other. You are in each other’s photographs,” he laughed.

The couple then continued on their ascent accompanied by their own personal photographer.

Mr Moore told them as they climbed the steep steps up: “People often like to try and run up here.”

William replied: “What they race? You must be very fit if you are doing this three times a week Allan.”

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