After the fun and excitement-filled day one in the Hopkins village yesterday, on the second day of Royal Visit Belize, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge headed towards the Chiquibul hills and Forest in Western Belize. Chiquibul hills and Forest is about 400,000 acres of rich biodiversity, wildlife, timber, and home to the largest cave system in Central America and to the Caracol Archaeological Site. Prince William and Duchess Catherine made a trip to the ancient Mayan site of Caracol and an army station in the Chiquibul jungle.
Their first stop was the stunning Caracol Archaeological Site supported by the Institute of Archaeology (NICH) Belize. Chiquibul National Park is Belize’s largest national park. located in Belize’s Cayo District is 1,073 km² in size. The national park surrounds Caracol, a Mayan city. Caracol has been designated as an archaeological reserve and is not included within the park’s total area.
At the ancient Mayan ruins of an archaeological site deep in the Chiquibul Forest, The Duke and Duchess learned about the history and were taken to the stunning Caana commonly known as “sky palace” the largest structure at Caracol, which once housed royal families during the Maya empire.
The Mayan civilization built the temple palace 3,000 years ago and it would have been the center of a community of around 200,000 people and is believed to have been occupied as early as 1200 BC. Long thought to be a tertiary center, it is now known that the site was one of the most important regional political centers of the Maya Lowlands during the Classic Period.
From Daily Mail’s report,
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. 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 halfway 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 marveled at what they saw. ‘Wow,’ said Kate. 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.’
Associate director of Belize’s Institute of Archaeology, Archaeologist Allan Moore, showed the royal couple around the ruins before they climbed the magnificent 141-foot “sky palace.” From there, they looked out over the tops of the tree line across Belize. 3000-year-old sky palace is hidden deep in the jungle in western Belize close to the Guatemala border. But it was only discovered remarkably in 1937 by an explorer – a native logger named Rosa Mai, who came across its remains in 1937 while searching for mahogany hardwood trees to exploit.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit Caracol – an iconic ancient Mayan archeological site deep in the jungle in the Chiquibul Forest. #royalvisitbelize #royalvisitcaribbean @KensingtonRoyal pic.twitter.com/gW2cLVp9xx
— Samir Hussein (@samhussein) March 21, 2022
From People’s report,
“What you are seeing here is like the inside of Buckingham Palace,” Moore, associate director of the Institute of Archaeology (NICH) Belize, explains. “The visit is important”.
Asked about the significance of a modern prince coming to an ancient site of kings, Moore tells PEOPLE, “Perhaps for the same reason as anyone — to see what life was like back then and to compare to what life’s like now and how society has evolved. Three thousand years ago they would think that was modern. It is a contrast, a comparison for him.”
The second stop of the day was British Army Training Support Unit Belize and the Belize Defence Force to observe some jungle training. Prince William spend time with Welsh guards at the BATSUB during his military training two decades ago in 2000, as part of his gap year between Eton College and St. Andrew’s University. The Palace described the visit as a trip down the memory lane and said Prince William was very much looking forward to revisiting the place.
BATSUB (British Army Training Support Unit) in the jungle gives tropical environment training to British troops and international partners. The Unit carries out up to five dismounted close combat exercises per year, of varying size, as well as hosting the final exercise of the notoriously tough British Army Platoon Commander’s Battle Course, which runs three times a year. From BATSUB’s website,
Belize provides challenging terrain and an austere environment giving the British Army a world-class training environment. It is used to teach our soldiers how to survive, live and fight in the jungle environment. Soldiers learn skills in the jungle that are transferable to other environments and the training, though often grueling, sets them up for success on future operations.
The British army also works closely with conservation organizations such as Friends for Conservation and Development to protect the Chiquibul Forest, which is part of The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy (the program to create a worldwide network of protected woodlands).
After the visit to the training unit, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with the NGOs, Friends for Conservation and Development – FCD Belize and Panthera-Belize to hear about the important environmental work they do. FCD, a small group of dedicated committed Belizeans who risk their lives each day in protecting and conserving this vast natural resource, co-manages Belize’s largest protected area (Chiquibul) and some of the nation’s most prized landscape and natural resources.
From FCD’s website,
Day to day, the primary work of FCD, with its partners including the Forest Department, Institute of Archaeology, BDF, and the Police, has been to maintain the integrity of natural and cultural resources of the Chiquibul Forest.
The Chiquibul Forest is in the south-western region of Belize with over 423,000 acres of tropical forest (about 4x the size of Barbados). The area includes the largest cave system in Central America, the Caracol Mayan Site, the Chiquibul River which provides water to 40% of the Belize population and so much more. The FCD Park Rangers do the day to day monitoring and research within this vast forest area and provide critical data to the regulatory agencies including the BDF, Police, Forest Department, and other authorities about the state of the environment and extent of incursions and encroachments against our natural resources and our sovereignty.
The Duchess of Cambridge was wearing John Lewis & Partners Double Front Scoop Neck Top. Thanks to Christine Ross for the id.
The sold-out top was described as, “Expand your casual collection this season with this wardrobe staple from John Lewis. Made from a lightweight fabric with a hint of stretch for comfortable wear, it features short sleeves and a flattering scoop neckline.”
The Duchess teamed up the white top with dark olive G-Star Raw High G-Shape Cargo Skinny Pants. Thanks to Heaven on Twitter for the quick id.
The €99.95 pants were described as, “These G-Shape cargo pants offer a high waist on a skinny fit. The shaped waistband wraps around the waist to eliminate gaps. Deep pockets with a flap are added to the thigh and offer hidden snap closures. Additional inset front pockets are combined with a single zipper pocket at the backside.”
Catherine topped the pants with her Massimo Dutti Braided Belt that she debuted in 2019.
The Duchess was wearing her Superga Cotu Sneakers
And a new pair of sunglasses – RayBan 4105 Folding Wayfarer Sunglasses. Thanks to Lauren on Twitter for the id.
During the visit to BATSUB, The Duchess of Cambridge wore Scotch & Soda Long Sleeve Belted Tencel Safari Shirt. Thanks to Heaven on Twitter for another fabulous id.
and changed into Palladium Pampa Hi HTG Supply Boots. Another amazing id by Heaven.
Later they will attend an evening reception at the Cahal Pech near San Ignacio. The reception will be celebrating The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.