The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have made a surprise red carpet appearance in Jamaica for the premiere of a new Bob Marley biopic, joining the nation’s republican prime minister Andrew Holness at the event. Harry and Meghan held hands as they made their first joint appearance in two months, at the Carib Theatre in Kingston on Tuesday night.
Harry and Meghan’s appearance comes as Harry’s father King Charles is due to undergo a corrective procedure for an enlarged prostate, while the Princess of Wales recovers from abdominal surgery. The couple have reportedly contacted both Charles and Kate “in different ways” to express concern and send best wishes.
Mr Holness announced plans for the island to become a republic in 2022, but said last year that royal visitors would still be welcome.
The premiere of the Bob Marley: One Love Movie in Jamaica signifies a momentous occasion for our nation and the global community. 🇯🇲 pic.twitter.com/ZyPfn1wPnW
— Andrew Holness (@AndrewHolnessJM) January 24, 2024
In March 2022, Holness called for the removal of the late Queen as head of state during an official visit by the then Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, adding that Jamaica was ready to “move on” and cut ties with the British monarchy.
“Jamaica is, as you would see, a country that is very proud of our history and very proud of what we have achieved. We are moving on and we intend to attain in short order … our goals and fulfil our true ambitions as an independent, developed, prosperous country,” he said at the time.
The last time the Sussexes visited Jamaica together was in 2017, when they attended the wedding of Harry’s friend Tom “Skippy” Inskip to Lara Hughes-Young.
The new Bob Marley biopic, Bob Marley: One Love, which is being released in February, celebrates the life and music of the reggae legend. Peaky Blinders actor Kingsley Ben-Adir plays the music icon, with James Bond star Lashana Lynch starring as his wife Rita.
The Jamaican movie premiere marks Harry and Meghan’s first joint public appearance since a National Hockey League (NHL) game in Vancouver, Canada, in November.
Their visit to Jamaica comes days after the duke was honoured as a Living Legend of Aviation, at a star-studded event, hosted by John Travolta, in Beverly Hills, California last Friday.
Harry was recognised for his work as a British army veteran and pilot at the ceremony, held nearly 40 years after his mother, the late Princess Diana, danced with Travolta at a White House gala dinner in 1985.
Addressing the Grease star, who is also a pilot and aviation ambassador, Harry noted: “I was just a one-year-old when you danced with my mum at the White House, and now look at us. The only thing left to do is… not dance together but fly together.”
The royal family was hit by a double health scare last week, when Buckingham Palace announced the king’s “benign” condition shortly after Kensington Palace shared that Kate would remain in hospital for two weeks after undergoing successful abdominal surgery.
The Palace also confirmed that Charles’s official engagements will be postponed while he recuperates in a statement on 17 January.
Meanwhile, Kate is not expected to return to work until after Easter.
A source close to the Sussexes said: “The King and the Princess of Wales have received support from Prince Harry and Meghan regarding their health.
“The Duke and Duchess contacted both parties in different ways to pass on their concern and best wishes.”
Additional reporting on wires