Lisa Hanna was a pageant-winning beauty queen before joining the People’s National Party in Jamaica – and she wants The Queen removed as head of state
Kate Middleton was left in an awkward situation this week when she was ‘snubbed’ by a Jamaican beauty queen.
Lisa Hanna used to spend her days winning pageants and was crowned Miss World in 1993, but almost three decades on she is now rubbing shoulders with a different kind of royalty.
The Duchess of Cambridge, who arrived on the Caribbean island on Tuesday night alongside Prince William, was given a ceremonial welcome yesterday at Kingston’s Norman Manley International Airport.
The pair flew into a political storm amid protests and impassioned calls for them to apologize for the monarchy’s role in slavery – with campaigners and leading politicians saying their visit was “ill-timed and ill-conceived”.
One of those is Lisa, who has now turned to politics and is a member of the Jamaican People’s National Party, who wants The Queen to be removed as head of state as well as lobbying Britain for reparations.
During the Cambridges’ ceremonial welcome, royal fans claimed Kate was getting the cold shoulder from Lisa during what appeared to be a very frosty moment.
So how did the former Miss World get to this position?
Get the news you want straight to your inbox. Sign up for a Mirror newsletter here .
The 46-year-old was born in Retreat, St Mary to Rene Hanna, a farmer of Lebanese descent, and Dorothy, a hairdresser.
She went to the Immaculate Conception Preparatory School in Kingston before the family moved stateside to Kansas City, Missouri for a number of years.
Then they moved back to Jamaica, where Lisa completed her studies at The Queen’s School in the capital and was Head Girl.
She was destined for the spotlight as a teenager appearing on reality TV show Enter the Dojo and as a presenter on the program Rapping.
Lisa gave up her time to volunteer for the World Hunger Project and was the youngest person to be appointed a Goodwill Ambassador by the United Nations Development Programme.
At the age of 18 in 1993, Lisa was crowned Miss World Caribbean and then charmed the crowd and judges to win Miss World, becoming the third Jamaican to win the prestigious title.
Continuing with a career in entertainment, Lisa acted in the romantic comedy How Stella Got Her Groove Back in 1998, hosted J amaican talk show Our Voices and was a guest presenter on Xtra in the US.
Sygma via Getty Images)
Lisa, who has a Bachelors and Masters degree in Communications from the University of the West Indies, went back to Jamaica the following year to work as a communications consultant for the Hilton Hotel in New Kingston.
In 1999 she married David Panton, who is a partner at private equity firm Navigation Capital Partners and is a close friend of US senator and former Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz.
The pair were roommates at Princeton University and Harvard Law School, where Panton became the second black person to be president of the Harvard Law Review after Barack Obama.
Hanna and Panton had a baby, Alexander, two years after marrying but divorced in 2004 – and their son is now working for Deutsche Bank in New York.
In December 2017 she married Jamaican businessman Richard Lake and together they run Lydford Logistics, a contract manufacturing, commercial warehouse and shipping operation.
However, Lisa made a drastic career change in 2007 when she was one of the youngest women to ever be elected to Jamaica’s government.
She became MP for St. Ann South East as a member of the People’s National Party and served as opposition spokesperson on Information, Youth and Culture.
When her party won the election in 2011 she was appointed Minister of Youth and Culture, a role she served until they were ousted in 2016.
In 2020 she ran for party leadership but was beaten by Mark Golding, who welcomed the royals and attended the Governor General’s dinner with them.
Hanna has risen to prominence in recent days after her awkward encounter with the Duchess of Cambridge during the welcoming ceremony.
Fans said they saw a rather frosty moment where Kate seemed like she was trying to speak to the politician, only for her to turn away in a video that has gone viral.
The clip was shared widely on Twitter as many said they had huge “second-hand embarrassment” for Kate.
However, they were seen chatting and smiling with each other during other parts of the ceremony and Lisa said they had a “pleasant conversation.”
The former Miss World, who met Prince Harry on his visit to Jamaica in 2012, shared details of the meeting on Instagram.
She wrote: “Today I welcomed Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge Kate to Jamaica on behalf of the Leader of the Opposition in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
“We had a very interactive and pleasant conversation throughout the proceedings as we talked about family, our cultures and our people.
“There’s no doubt at this time that we all seek our true independence and want to develop systems & strategies where we become free from the monarchy. But until then we will always remain a courteous and respectful country.
“I am a firm believer in reparations and as such when I was Minister of Youth and Culture I led the reparations committee which made strides in developing submissions to Britain which examined the economic cost of slavery to our country.
“I welcome them wholeheartedly with our warm hospitality, and look forward to us having productive discussions about our future.”
Do you have a story to share? E-mail[email protected]
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.