Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge have cancelled a royal visit to Belize after protests broke out. (Credit: Getty Images)
Anti-colonialism protesters voiced their disdain at the royal couple visiting village Indian Creek during their week-long tour to mark Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee.
Many unhappy locals pointed out Prince William’s association with the F.F.I charity as well as their opposition to the crown.
As a result, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge were forced to scrap the visit.
But what is the FFI and why are locals upset at the couple?
What does FFI mean?
FFI stands for Fauna & Flora International, a charity of which Prince William is patron.
Founded in 1903, Fauna & Flora International is the world’s oldest conservation created by British aristocrats based in colonies of the Commonwealth.
The main aim of the charity is to “conserve threatened species and ecosystems worldwide”, however the group currently own a contested property in the village and are in legal action against locals over communal land rights.
FFI have told locals the 12,000 acre land which they own is private property and not for communal use of Indian Creek residents.
Protesters campaigning against Prince William and the Duchess’ visit held signs which read: “Prince William as long as you are helping FFI taking our lands, you are not welcome.”
The indigenous Q’eqchi Maya community is aiming to oppose FFI and Belize authorities over the right to land lost during the colonisation of Belize.
Why is Prince William patron of FFI?
The charity has held close royal links since its creation.
One if the founders - Herbrand Russell, 11th Duke of Bedford - was aide-de-camp to both King Edward VII and King George V.
Edward VIII was the first royal to back the charity, with his patronage beginning in 1928.
Following his abdication, this title was handed onto his brother and replacement King George VI.
Upon the ascension of Queen Elizabeth II, the new monarch inherited the patronage from her father.
The title was once again handed down to her grandson Prince William in October 2020.
Why did William and Kate cancel their trip?
While Belize police refused to let protesters demonstrate during the official trip, many came out in force beforehand, holding posters which said ‘Prince William leave our land’ and ‘Colonial legacy of theft continues with Prince and FFI’.
Dionisio Shol, a village youth leader, reportedly said of the visit: “For us it really hits right at home because of the treatment. The organiser said we had to let them use the football field and that people were coming to our village and it had to look good.
“But they didn’t want to divulge who. Eventually somebody said it was Prince William coming to our village.
“That’s where the first issue arose. These are high-profile people, we respect them, but they also have to be giving respect to the community leaders.
“Giving community leaders commands did not sit well with the community.”
A Kensington Palace spokeswoman confirmed that the royal couple were no longer due to visit Indian Creek, saying: “We can confirm that due to sensitive issues involving the community in Indian Creek, the visit has been moved to a different location - further details will be provided in due course.”
It is believed that instead of visiting the village, the couple were scheduled to visit a cacao farm.
In a statement the Belize Government said: “Indian Creek was one of several sites being considered. Due to issues in the village, the Government of Belize activated its contingency planning and another venue has been selected to showcase Maya family entrepreneurship in the cacao industry.”
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