This is Her Majesty’s third visit to Trinidad and Tobago, having visited previously in 1966, in early days of post-Independence, and again 1985, when she was met at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine, by placard-bearing students protesting South African apartheid which was eventually abolished.
The Queen is now 83 years old, and Prince Philip is 88, so Trinidad and Tobago is truly privileged to once more be able to welcome the Royal Couple.
The Queen’s formal title is “Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.”
Her Majesty and HRH will arrive today at about 1.30 pm at Piarco Airport where the Queen will be invited to inspect a Guard of Honour. Afterwards, Her Majesty is due to lay a wreath at Memorial Park, Port-of-Spain. In the evening, the Queen accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, will attend a State Banquet, at President’s House, where both Her Majesty and President George Maxwell Richards are due to give speeches.
Tomorrow morning, the Queen will attend the opening ceremony of CHOGM, which she is expected to address, accompanied by the Duke, who himself will later meet ex-servicemen at Knowsley House and then visit Tobago.
Her Majesty will host a luncheon for Commonwealth Heads at the Carlton Savannah Hotel, St Ann’s. In the evening, Her Majesty, accompanied by HRH, will host a dinner for Commonwealth leaders at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, which she is expected to address, along with Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma.
On Saturday morning, the Royal Couple will attend a cultural show at Queen’s Hall where they will also view a floral and craft display. They will unveil a cultural plaque and greet children.
Her Majesty will host a reception at the Carlton Savannah Hotel for local dignitaries. The Queen will then attend a reception at the residence of British High Commissioner, Eric Jenkinson, at which she will be presented with a cricket bat by West Indies cricket icon, Brian Lara, 40. Lara is a former West Indies captain, who still holds the record for the highest test score of 400 runs (not out) and the highest first class score of 501 runs (not out), having played in 131 tests and in 260 first-class matches.
On Saturday evening, Her Majesty and His Royal Highness will depart from Piarco Airport.
Her Majesty is Queen of 16 sovereign states: the United Kingdom (UK), Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. The Queen’s role as the UK’s Head of State is explained on the official web-site of the British Monarchy, which says, “As a constitutional monarch, Her Majesty does not ‘rule’ the country, but fulfils important ceremonial and formal roles with respect to Government.”
She is also regarded as the Fount of Justice and Head of the Armed Forces, and has important relationships with the Churches of England and Scotland.
The web-site says the Queen was born in 1926 and became Queen at the age of 25, and has reigned through more than five decades of enormous social change and development. The Queen and Prince Philip have four children and eight grandchildren.
Her Majesty was crowned in 1952 after which she served as monarch, in addition to raising a family. Her children are Charles, Prince of Wales; Anne, Princess Royal; Prince Andrew, Duke of York; and Prince Edward, Duke of Wessex.
The Queen’s grandchildren include Princes William and Harry, sons of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana.
It has been said by some observers that amid all the challenges she has faced in the past five decades, including the foibles of other members of the Royal Family, the Queen herself has never put a foot wrong in performing her public duties.
She is seen as a celebrity, a much-loved figure, the personification of the UK, and a busy servant of her countrymen, the Commonwealth and a wider humanity.
Trinidad and Tobago no longer recognises Her Majesty as this country’s Head of State after becoming a Republic in 1976, although acknowledging her as Head of the Commonwealth. However, in representing a monarchy that has existed for one thousand years (since the Norman Conquest of 1066), she is widely considered to have been a stabilising influence in the UK and elsewhere in the Commonwealth.