Her Majesty was presented with the sights and sounds of TT covering many ethnic influences during an hour long programme which showcased the nation’s youth. Young members of the Malick Folk Performing company and North West Laventille welcomed the Queen with dance and a rhythm section upon her arrival at 10.05 am.
Several government ministers along with members of the Queen’s Hall Board met Her Majesty as she entered the foyer with her husband, His Royal Highness Prince Philip, President George Maxwell Richards and Mrs Richards.
The Queen’s suit was in keeping with the festive season with a bright red floral print skirt and the same print decorating the neckline and cuff of her white jacket. The entertainment programme was led by Junior Calypso Monarch Meagan Waldrond who sang “Nah Leaving”. The Queen then viewed a display from Joan Wilson of the Horticultural Society, a mural painted by children of The Cotton Tree Foundation and craft from the Blind Welfare Association.
Wilson, a member of the TT team which has won gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show escorted the Queen around the floral display which comprised a large centre piece mounted on a piano and other smaller arrangements. A variety of haleconias, ginger lilies, anthuriums and orchids were used in addition to local items like “roucou.”
The Bishop Anstey High School and Trinity College East Chamber Ensemble performed classical music and nine-year-old Timel Flament Rivas sang “Welcome” (a song written for the occasion) during the interval when Her Majesty proceeded upstairs to the main hall.
The tight programme featured Bishop Anstey High School Choir performing folks song “Street Cries”, a medley of Parang songs from pupils of Los Angeles Musicales of Pt Fortin RC Primary School and dance performances from the Caribbean School of Dance Metamorphosis Dance Company, Shiv Shakti Dance Company, Urban Ritual Dance Company (Tobago), and St Margaret’s Boys Steel Orchestra. After the performances, the Queen unveiled a plaque which commemorated the laying of the Hall’s foundation stone in July 1958 by Mrs Robert P Johnstone, and Education Minister Patrick Solomon. After leaving the hall the Queen viewed costumes from Rosalind Gabriel’s band. Scores of children from different sections of her 2009 presentation lined the driveway.
The Queen stopped and spoke to a few of the children and was seen smiling throughout. Her presence caused a frenzy and there was a rush by photographers, cameramen and parents and guardians of children to photograph the Queen. The Queen’s security had a busy time trying to keep the crowd from getting too close to the monarch.
In an interview, Gabriel said the Queen asked about the costumes and how long she had been designing. “She was fascinated by the colour scheme,” Gabriel said. Prince Philip asked if the same costumes were used every year. “I said every year we design a new one. He was amazed,” Gabriel said.