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Her Majesty bids farewell

By Corey Connelly Sunday, November 29 2009

AT ABOUT 8.20 pm last evening, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, left aboard a British Airways jet after a three-day state visit to Trinidad and Tobago (TT).

The Royal Couple arrived on Thursday before proceeding to their first official stop at Memorial Park in Port-of-Spain where the Queen paid tribute to ex-servicemen and women who served in World Wars I and II, at a wreath laying ceremony.

Later that evening, President George Maxwell Richards hosted Her Majesty and Prince Philip to a state banquet where the Queen praised this country’s achievements in education, assuring that Great Britain remained ready to assist this country in security and judicial reforms.

She also singled out former TT and West Indies star batsman Brian Lara, the world Test record holder, as one of the finest to have every played the game of cricket.

Yesterday, Lara returned the compliment by presenting Her Majesty with an autographed bat during a private reception at the Carlton Savannah.

Former Manchester United striker and TT captain Dwight Yorke also gave the Queen a gift of an autographed football.

On their last day in Trinidad, the Queen and Prince Philip were treated to a children’s cultural show the highlight of which was a mini parade of Carnival costumes from award-winning veteran bandleader Rosalind Gabriel’s 2009 presentation ‘National Pride’.

Prior to these engagements, the Queen opened the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) at the National Academy for the Performing Arts in Port-of-Spain on Friday morning and used this country’s motto, ‘Together we aspire, together we achieve’ to send a message of unity to leaders.

Prince Philip had his special engagements too and spent a few hours on Friday in Tobago where he was treated to the re-enactment of a traditional Tobago wedding in Bacolet.

The Queen stood out in Caribbean cool fashions given her choice of bright colours from light green, orange-gold to printed skirts in her suit ensembles.

For the official dinners, she wore her tiaras, one of which was the same she wore on her wedding day in 1947, diamond jewelry and gowns, chosing in one case to accentuate her dress with appliques of the Chaconia, Cocrico and Scarlet Ibis.

Last evening, the Queen continued in this vein, opting for a stylish green and black skirt suit as she bade a fond farewell to TT, ending her third official state visit to local shores.

The Royal Couple waved graciously to President George Maxwell Richards, his wife Dr Jean Ramjohn-Richards, Foreign Affairs Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon, members of the diplomatic corps and soldiers of the Defence Force as they boarded the aircraft shortly after 8 pm.

Moments before, the Queen was escorted along the tarmac by Richards, his wife and Chief of Defence Staff Brigadier Edmund Dillon.

She later stood at a saluting dais before listening to a rendition of the national anthem played by immaculately-attired members of the Defence Force.

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