Queen Elizabeth rose to the throne on February 6, 1952. As you know, this year’s Diamond Jubilee Celebration marks the 60th year of her reign.
In 1966, her trip to the West Indies was to visit the countries of the Commonwealth. Her Majesty’s schedule was exhausting, yet she looked regal at every stop along the way.
Starting out on February 1, and accompanied by Prince Philip, she traveled to Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Mustique, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Genada, St. Lucia, Antigua, Dominica, Montserrat, Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas, Conception Island, and Jamaica—the final stop on March 6. To say it was a whirlwind would be quite an understatement.
I was assigned to cover the tour. The royal pair traveled from island to island aboard HMY Britannia, while the rest of the press scrambled to find island hoppers or seaplanes to get us from location to location in order to arrive before they did. The photograph here was taken in Jamaica as they boarded the BOAC—now British Airways—plane for the return to London.
It was a most informal tour for the royals, going from destination to destination, greeting the local dignitaries and riding through the streets in open cars waving to the crowds of people who were waving tiny British flags.
There was a cocktail party for the press aboard the Royal Yacht in British Guiana, and we all stood on deck with a glass of dry sherry while the Queen answered questions from the press, reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn in the closing scene in the film Roman Holiday. The rest of the tour was, needless to say, nothing like the film.
By Harry Benson from the May 2012 issue of Quest.