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Prince William, Kate Middleton face backlash on their first Caribbean tour

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have faced protests against Britain's history of slavery and a declaration by Jamaica that it intends to break from the British monarchy.

It has not been all island vibes for Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, during a protest-filled tour of the Caribbean on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II.

An eight-day trip intended to strengthen ties with Commonwealth nations has instead featured an engagement in Belize cancelled by a protest and the Jamaican prime minister announcing that the country plans to break away from the British monarchy.

William delivered an impassioned speech on Wednesday about the queen's connection to Jamaica, only hours after Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness said in a speech that the island nation is "moving on" from the British monarchy and plans to remove the queen as its head of state.

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit Belize, Jamaica And The Bahamas - Day Five
Jamaican prime minister Andrew Holness announced his nation's intention to break with the British monarchy during the visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Samir Hussein / WireImage

The Duke of Cambridge, who is second in line to the throne behind his father, acknowledged Britain's history of slavery in Jamaica while stopping short of a full apology during his speech at a dinner hosted by the country's governor general.

"I want to express my profound sorrow," he said. "Slavery was abhorrent, and it should never have happened."

The announcement by Holness comes four months after another Caribbean nation, Barbados, celebrated cutting ties with the queen and becoming an independent republic.

William's comments also came after dozens of protesters gathered in Kingston demanding an apology and reparations. Jamaica was once a British colony where hundreds of thousands of Africans were forced to work as slaves on its plantations. Slavery was formally abolished on the island in 1834.

Buckingham Palace did not respond to a request for comment by NBC News, but experts say their official stance has been to let the people decide about becoming a republic.

"The appalling atrocity of slavery forever stains our history," William said in his speech. "While the pain runs deep, Jamaica continues to forge its future with determination, courage and fortitude."

The protests in Jamaica came on the heels of ones in Belize that resulted in the duke and duchess cancelling their first engagement of the trip.

They also drew some criticism for a photo showing them greeting children in Trench Town, Jamaica, through a wire fence and not out in the open.

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit Belize, Jamaica And The Bahamas - Day Four
The royal couple drew some criticism for greeting children in Trench Town through a wire fence and not out in the open. Samir Hussein / WireImage

There have been some warm welcomes during their stay in Jamaica, including playing the drums at reggae legend Bob Marley's home, attending a soccer scrimmage, visiting a hospital and taking a selfie with the Jamaican bobsled team.

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit Belize, Jamaica And The Bahamas - Day Four
The duke and duchess played the drums during a visit to Trench Town Culture Yard Museum where Bob Marley used to live in Kingston.Chris Jackson / Getty Images
The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit Belize, Jamaica And The Bahamas - Day Four
The couple met with members of the public during a visit to Trench Town Culture Yard Museum.Chris Jackson / Getty Images

"I think the big takeaway from the tour is that Prince William may not be King William of Jamaica in the future, but he will of course be welcomed back here many times in the future, as the relationship between Britain and the Caribbean will continue to be strong," People chief foreign correspondent Simon Perry said on TODAY Thursday.

The couple's trip continues with a visit on Thursday to The Bahamas. The island nation is one of 15 Commonwealth realms, including Belize and Jamaica, that have Queen Elizabeth as head of state.