In a dazzling display of celebrity and diplomacy, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, were the center of attention at the premiere of a new film celebrating the life of legendary musician Bob Marley in Jamaica. Their presence on the red carpet, alongside Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness in Kingston, highlighted the Caribbean nation’s ongoing journey towards becoming a republic.
The high-profile event comes at a time when Jamaica, under the leadership of Prime Minister Holness, is actively working towards severing ties with the British monarchy. The Prime Minister had previously expressed to Prince William and Kate, during their 2022 Caribbean tour, Jamaica’s ambition to evolve as an independent, developed, and prosperous country. This vision is echoed by Jamaica’s Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Marlene Malahoo Forte, who was also present at the “One Love” film premiere.
Ms. Malahoo Forte had informed Sky News last May, ahead of the King’s coronation, about Jamaica’s plans to draft a new constitution that would replace the monarch with a Jamaican head of state. A referendum, potentially leading to Jamaica’s full independence from the British crown, could be held as early as 2024.
The Sussexes’ visit to Jamaica is particularly noteworthy given the backdrop of significant events within the British royal family. The King is preparing for hospital treatment related to an enlarged prostate, while the Princess of Wales is also in the hospital following abdominal surgery.
Prince Harry’s connection to Jamaica dates back to his 2012 visit during the Diamond Jubilee tour to celebrate his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II’s 60-year reign. This visit was marked by memorable moments, including a friendly race with Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt and a meeting with then-Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, who advocated for removing Elizabeth II as Jamaica’s head of state.
Meghan Markle also has personal ties to Jamaica, having previously visited the country’s slums with her mother as a child and marrying her first husband, film producer Trevor Engelson, on a Jamaican beach in 2011.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s attendance at the Bob Marley film premiere in Jamaica symbolizes not only their ongoing commitment to supporting arts and culture but also highlights the evolving relationship between the British monarchy and its former colonies, as nations like Jamaica move towards their own independent futures.