Prime Minister Andrew Holness previously told Prince William and Kate Middleton that Jamaica intended to become an "independent country"
On Tuesday night, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex made a surprise appearance at the premiere of Bob Marley: One Love in Kingston and walked the carpet at the Carib 5 Theatre. Prince Harry, 39, and Meghan, 42, posed for photos, including some with the Jamaican prime minister who has been vocal about the country's intention to break away from the British monarchy.
Meghan and Harry snapped pictures with the prime minister, his wife Juliet, who is a member of the House of Representatives and its Speaker, and Olivia Grange, the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport and a Member of Parliament.
“Witnessing the premiere of the Bob Marley: One Love Movie right here in Jamaica was truly inspiring. Bob Marley's legacy continues to resonate deeply with our nation,” Holness wrote on X on Wednesday. The recap captioned a quick video from the premiere, which showed him and his wife shaking hands with Prince Harry and Meghan as well as a glimpse into the theater.
Bob Marley: One Love, hitting theaters on Feb. 14, stars Kingsley Ben-Adir as the legendary Jamaican singer and Lashana Lynch as his wife, Rita.
The movie "celebrates the life and music of an icon who inspired generations through his message of love and unity," according to IMDb. "On the big screen for the first time, discover Bob’s powerful story of overcoming adversity and the journey behind his revolutionary music,” a synopsis says.
Witnessing the premiere of the Bob Marley: One Love Movie right here in Jamaica was truly inspiring.
Bob Marley's legacy continues to resonate deeply with our nation. #OneLove #BobMarleyOneLoveMovie #Jamaica 🇯🇲 pic.twitter.com/QXulBExrHl
— Andrew Holness (@AndrewHolnessJM) January 24, 2024
Jamaica is part of the Commonwealth, a voluntary association of 56 independent countries, almost all of which were formerly under British rule. The Caribbean country is one of 15 independent nations, known as Commonwealth realms, which counts the U.K.'s sovereign as their head of state. However, Holness has expressed plans to change that.
Prince Harry and Meghan previously traveled to Jamaica for the 2017 wedding of Harry's friend Tom “Skippy” Inskip to Lara Hughes-Young. Prince Harry also visited Jamaica in 2012 as part of a Diamond Jubilee Tour, representing his grandmother Queen Elizabeth as she celebrated 60 years on the throne. His trip also included stops in Belize, the Bahamas and Brazil.
William and Kate (now the Prince and Princess of Wales) visited Jamaica during what proved to be a controversial tour of the Caribbean on behalf of Queen Elizabeth in honor of her Platinum Jubilee, where their presence sparked anti-colonial protests in Belize and Jamaica. At the time, William’s grandmother was head of state of both countries (positions which have passed to King Charles), and the movement to remove her as the Jamaican head of state was gaining traction. In a similar shift, Barbados became an independent republic in 2021.
Prime Minister Holness told Prince William and Kate during their March 2022 visit, "We're very, very happy to have you and we hope you've received a warm welcome of the people."
"Jamaica is a very free and liberal country and the people are very expressive, and I'm certain that you would have seen the spectrum of expressions yesterday," Holness continued, referencing the royal couple's welcome in Trench Town, which followed a demonstration calling for slave reparations from the British monarchy in the country's capital.
"There are issues here, which as you know, are unresolved, but your presence gives us an opportunity for those issues to be placed in context, to be out front and center and to be addressed as best we can. But Jamaica is, as you would see, is a country that is proud of its history and very proud of what we have achieved," he said. "And we're moving on and we intend to… fulfill our true ambitions and destiny to become an independent, developed and prosperous country."
That evening, Prince William, 41, expressed his “profound sorrow” for the horrors of the slave trade and the role that Britain played in it during a landmark speech at a diplomatic dinner hosted by the Governor General of Jamaica. However, he did not comment on the calls to remove the Queen as head of state, Reuters reported.
Can't get enough of PEOPLE's Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!
Holness is the youngest prime minister of Jamaica to date and vowed to transform Jamaica from a constitutional monarchy into a republic during his election campaign. He was elected to lead in 2016 and said upon taking office that his government would introduce a bill to replace the Queen with "a non-executive president as head of state."
In 2022, the Jamaican Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs said that the country would move to become a republic by the next general election in 2025, according to the BBC.
For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on People.