After a Royal welcome ceremony, yesterday at the Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport of Belize city and meeting with the Belizean Prime Minister and First Lady, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today started their tour of the country in Central America that identifies itself as part of the Caribbean.
After their arrival, Belizean Prime Minister John Antonio Briceño said,
“It’s quite exciting for everybody that His Royal Highness and his wife chose to start their tour in Belize and they are quite excited about having a first look and a close look to Belize, not only to our natural wonders, the sea, but even them going into the communities themselves and have probably a closer understanding as to the dynamics of Belize as how is it that we are so unique, so small but so diverse.”
Prince William and Catherine began the day by visiting a cocoa producer to learn more about Belize’s world-famous Maya chocolate-making at Che`il Mayan farm in the coastal town of Hopkins in the east of the country. Julio Saqui and his family started their business about ten years ago. The history of cocoa in the Maya culture dates back thousands of years.
From DailyMail’s report,
The Saqui family are from Belize’s Maya community where the cocoa bean is revered and has been an integral part of their culture for thousands of years. It was served to royalty in centuries past and at one point was worth more than gold to the Maya people who still serve it to special guests.
The couple began their tour of the chocolate production at the firm’s 10-acre farm, one of a number of plots they cultivate, and were shown the cocoa trees laden with fruit, with Kate asking Narcisio Saqui, brother of Julio, ‘Do you harvest them all year round?’ Narcisio took the couple out of the blistering sun and sat them down under a marquee and told them about the anti-oxidants and other important properties of cocoa and the duke exclaimed: ‘Are you saying chocolate is good for us?’
Speaking about the importance of the bean Mr Saqui added: ‘It became currency in those days and was traded as cash, worth more than gold.’ When he took a club and broke open a cocoa pod, filled with white gooey seeds which need to be fermented, dried, roasted and ground to make chocolate, William looked surprised and said: ‘That’s not what I expected at all.’
During the visit, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge learned about how the Mayans cultivate cacao trees, process cacao beans, and make chocolate. Their guide of the day at the cacao farm offered a detailed explanation and the process of how cacao beans are extracted from the pods and then fermented and finally dried before they are ready to be processed into chocolate.
He also invited The Duke and Duchess to try their hand at grinding the cocoa beans. The grinding bean is a hard job that usually is finished by the women of the area. From Hello! mag’ report,
The Duke then also had his turn at chocolate-making, much to his wife’s delight! “The smell of the chocolate is amazing,” she said.
William even joked, “Do you take apprentices? Can I come and work for you? It’s my kind of thing.” The couple’s eyes lit up when they saw the chocolate fountains ready for their arrival. They enjoyed dipping tortilla chips into the liquid chocolate and later tried hot chocolate, too.
Mum-of-three Kate sweetly commented: “I think our children will be very jealous.
The next stop of the day was Hopkins village where they attended a Garifuna Festival. Hopkins Village is knowns as the country’s happiest village. As expected, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s visit to the area brought the colorful tourist destination to the highlight. The Garifuna nation is made up of the Garifuna people who were originally from Africa and came to Belize from St. Vincent, where they settled with the local Arawak indigenous people.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge received a warm welcome from schoolchildren and residents of Hopkins Village, Stann Creek District. The Royal couple was accompanied by Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Amalia Mai.
The Duchess of Cambridge loving Hopkins Village! #RoyalCaribbeanTour pic.twitter.com/PdiNOGcAyf
— Toria (@toriaa_h) March 20, 2022
At the village, William and Catherine learned about the Garifuna community lifestyle. They enjoyed a musical event and showed some dance movements.
The Dancing Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Mixed reviews on their skills, kids I spoke to thought William needed more practice! #RoyalVisitBelize pic.twitter.com/kFq9D7Fb4c
— Emily Nash (@emynash) March 20, 2022
While visiting Hopkins, the cultural center of the Garifuna community in Belize, the couple joined in the festivities, dancing the local “punta” and sampling the Hudutu broth-style meal as they immersed themselves in Garifuna culture. William even busted out some impressive moves with a 57-year-old local woman, Laura Cacho.
“They are an amazing couple and we would love them to come any time with their children Charlotte, George, and Louis,” Cacho, who helped host the visit, tells PEOPLE. “They really know how to dance. They took the culture from me and I didn’t need to teach them. They’re so good at it. They were excellent.”
Vkeveen Martinez, 15, one of the teens from the Light of Hopkins dance group who tempted the couple onto the floor, adds, “It was amazing. It was a lot to get a prince out to dance, and I held his hand.”
Martinez even asked William what it was like living in a castle. “He said ‘it’s tricky — my grandmother lives there,’ ” she shares. And Kate told her that “she wants dance classes.”
The last engagement on today’s itinerary is Learning more about Belize’s marine conservation efforts and incredible marine environment.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with the conservationists on the beach of Hopkins village in southern Belize to learn more about Belize’s leadership in marine conservation and its biodiversity.
Belize is home to the world’s second-largest barrier reef, thanks to decades of work to protect this incredible marine environment. In 2017, offshore oil exploration was banned, resulting in the reef receiving UNESCO World Heritage Status.
Then the Royal couple enjoyed a walk along the beach before bidding farewell to the locals.
The rest of the afternoon was reserved to give the couple some private time in the beautiful country. they will be enjoying some Aquatic activities before retiring for the day.
The $525 blue cotton blend dress features a multicolor print on it. It has a shirred panel, square neckline, short puff sleeves, smocked waistline, and a tiered skirt.
A closer look at the detailing.
The Duchess of Cambridge brought back her Stuart Weitzman Minx Wedges that we saw for the first time in May 2012 when she cheered up William at a Polo Match.
During her visit to Hopkins beach, The Duchess of Cambridge was wearing Stella Mccartney Hestia Embellished Woven Raffia Espadrille. Thanks to Heaven on Twitter for the id
We also saw the return of the Anya Hindmarch Fan Bag that Catherine first carried in July 2011 during the Canada tour.
The Duchess paired the outfit with Sezane Charlie Threaded Blue Earrings. Thanks to @cambridg_sussex for the id. The $70, Made in India, textile earrings had a Brass structure and Resin beads.
The Duchess was wearing her Ray-Ban Chris Sunglasses.
Tomorrow the royal couple will visit Caracol- Belize’s most spectacular Mayan site and BATSUB’s base in Chiquibul to see army training taking place followed by an evening reception.