The Grenada leg of the Earl and Countess of Wessex’s six-day platinum jubilee tour of the Caribbean has been postponed, a day before the couple were due to leave.
Sophie and Prince Edward begin a tour of three Caribbean nations, St Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Antigua and Barbuda, on Friday, to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s 70-year reign.
“In consultation with the government of Grenada and on the advice of the governor general, the Earl and Countess of Wessex’s visit to Grenada has been postponed," Buckingham Palace said.
“The Earl and Countess hope to visit at a later date.”
No further details were given about the reason for the delay.
The decision comes after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were criticised for some parts of their recent Caribbean tour, which were regarded as harking back to colonial days.
It is understood that the planning of the royal tour involved discussions between the host countries, royal officials and other parties.
Part of that process was to ensure the itinerary would meet the aims of the tour, to celebrate the islands being visited and to mark the queen’s platinum jubilee.
During those discussions Grenada, on the advice of Dame Cecile La Grenade, its Governor General and the queen’s representative in the country, suggested a postponement.
Buckingham Palace had said the couple “will meet communities, local entrepreneurs and craftspeople, and young people, in celebration of the culture, future and vibrancy of the islands.
“While visiting Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Earl of Wessex will meet athletes in training for the Commonwealth Games, to be held in Birmingham this summer.
“Meanwhile, the countess will speak to women in leadership roles about the community’s response to the eruption of the La Soufriere Volcano.
“In Antigua and Barbuda, the Earl and Countess of Wessex will hear more about the importance of sport in the community.
"Their royal highnesses will meet some of the West Indies’ legendary cricketers and Antigua’s national rowing teams."
Finally, in St Lucia, the couple “will explore the varied landscape of Saint Lucia, visiting the Sulphur Springs and the Pigeon Island national landmark.
“The earl will conduct an investiture on behalf of Her Majesty, and their royal highnesses will attend a service to mark the queen’s 70-year reign.”