"I was pleased, and I was also very happy to see royals coming to participate in this major event," the head of government told an outlet. "Unsuspecting — little did I know — that I'd be drawn into some internal issues in the United Kingdom. But so it is, more publicity for Jamaica."
Holness came into focus with the media during Prince William and Kate, Princess of Wales' tour of the Caribbean in March 2022. The then-Duke and Duchess of Cambridge undertook the tour to represent the late Queen Elizabeth II during her Platinum Jubilee. During their visit to Jamaica, which is a Commonwealth Realm with the British monarch as head of state, the prime minister told the royals the island nation was "moving on" from the Commonwealth — while on live TV.
In what has been described as a "slap in the face" to his father, King Charles III, and his royal heritage, Prince Harry, along with Meghan Markle, has been accused of "undermining" the royal family by grinning in a photo with the PM.
"By choosing to break cover in such vehemently anti-monarchist company, the Duke and Duchess appear to be sending a very clear signal to the Palace," columnist Sarah Vine wrote when describing the pair's meet and greet with anti-monarchist Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
"It appears to me that they intend to use their royal connection to undermine both the individual reputations of members of the royal family and that of the institution as a whole. I hope that I am wrong." The scribe then pointed out how the Montecito royals are "helping to fuel anti-royalist sentiment throughout the Commonwealth and elsewhere."
She added: "The late Queen, who loved the Commonwealth and used her position to foster forgiveness and understanding, would be heartbroken. As for King Charles, I can see only one course of action: he should give them what they claim to want and set them free of their royal shackles by stripping them, finally, of all titles."
The duo walked the red carpet and posed for glitzy photographs while grinning next to Holness who holds anti-monarchy sentiments against King Charles III as the Caribbean nation's head of state. Jamaica is a former colony of the long-defunct British Empire but chose to keep the British monarch as their head of state after winning their full independence from the U.K. in 1962, during Queen Elizabeth II's early reign.
Holness has vowed to hold a referendum on whether or not to keep the Crown of Jamaica by 2025.
GBN reported on Holness' comments.