Prince Harry faced an incredibly problematic situation during his official tour of the Caribbean when he ended up taking part in a moment’s silence to mark the death of Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro.
The prince, who is fifth in line to the British throne, is on an official tour of the Caribbean at the behest of the Queen. When he attended a drinks party on the island of St Vincent, officials suddenly sprang a moment’s silence on him. He was invited to the reception as guest of honour to present Duke of Edinburgh awards to young people.
St Vincent governor general Sir Frederick Ballantyne asked everyone to stand in silence to mark the death of the divisive figure. The silence is not believed to have been planned in advance, giving Prince Harry no chance to plan for the situation.
It left Prince Harry in an impossible situation, with a split second to decide whether to simply stand with everyone else, or to try to exit the area. Commentators say he reacted in the only way he could by taking part in the silence, but staring straight ahead rather than bowing his head.
The Conservative MP Alec Shelbrooke said that giving Prince Harry no choice in the matter was grossly unfair and urged the government to speak to counterparts in St Vincent about what had happened to tell them that it was not acceptable. He added: “Castro was a murderous dictator. He is dead, and good riddance. This endless stream of people excusing him, especially Labour MPs like Jeremy Corbyn, is ridiculous.”
St Vincent Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, however, said Castro had been a good friend to the island, by providing investment and by trading with its people. So far, the Palace and the government have not commented on the situation.