She visited five times and held a 'Special Place' in her heart for the people and island.
This is my favorite image of all I have of Queen Elizabeth. It demonstrates the way she felt about Bajans and how they felt about her.
Barbados became a republic on 30th Nov 2021, but I feel that does not reflect how Bajans felt about her but rather it was a need for Barbados to become master of their own destiny with local national heroes and leaders.
Queen Elizabeth was a very positive person and treated people from all walks of life with utmost respect. One of the reasons she will be sorely missed.
The world is a better place for her having been here.
The first motorcade for a visiting dignitary that I witnessed was the visit of Sir Winston Churchill in March of 1960.
My mother was working at Pan American Airlines which had an office in the DaCosta building on Broad Street and we were able to watch the procession from the second floor balcony. There was a huge turnout and throngs lined Broad St to welcome him.
Six years later Queen Elizabeth II made her first visit to Barbados and opened the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Farley Hill National Park and the East Coast Road.
She visited a second time in Feb 1975 - arriving at Seawell Airport (later Grantley Adams International) on a British Airways VC-10.
This was my first chance to photograph her – opening the Barbados Parliament, walkabouts to meet the Bajan people and knighting Barbados' great cricketer Garfield Sobers.
Queen Elizabeth returned for her third visit as the last stop on her Silver Jubilee Tour of 1977 – arriving on Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia and leaving on her first flight in Concorde.
Jackie Faine and I had been doing Barbados human interest stories for a while and could not pass up the chance to cover the visit so we got our press passes, car stickers and other required credentials.
Her Majesty was welcomed with a fanfare and Royal Salute and then inspected the Honour Guard before leaving the port for her first event – opening the John Beckles Day Nursery.
She then met the Bajan people during a walkabout and open air ride in a Land Rover where she was able to wave her appreciation to the Bajans who had assembled to greet her.
It was then back to the Britannia for the press reception.
At this point one must realize that most of the press corp had been rushing around all day with no time to freshen up - also it had been on and off rain as a tropical depression was in the area.
Jackie decided that she was not dressed to meet the Queen and decided to stay in the car.
My hands were filthy from my wooden steering wheel but I was fortunate to be able to wash my hands on the wet handrail of the Britannia gangway so I was clean enough to shake hands with Her Majesty and the other dignitaries that met the press corp as they boarded the ship – a good reason for them to wear gloves!
I ended up chatting with one of Her ladies–in–waiting for much of the reception.
Now anyone who has not had the pleasure of following Her Majesty around on one of her tours may be forgiven to think that the end of the press reception would have been a good time to call it the end of the day – no such luck!
The next and most important event of the day was a State dinner at Government House – this ran from 8:15pm until Her Majesty returned to Britannia around 11pm – finally the end of an eventful day.
The next day, Nov 1st began with opening the new Barbados Community College escorted by the Minister of Education, Mr. Louis Tull and viewing an art exhibit guided by Mrs. Joyce Daniel, Chief Tutor of the Fine Arts Division.
Then off to the other side of the island for luncheon at Sam Lord's Castle with PM Tom Adams.
Half hour drive back to Britannia to get ready for the most important event of her trip – the opening of the Barbados Parliament.
We got Jackie into position on the 2nd floor balcony of Cave Shepard's building so she could shoot the Queen's procession up Broad Street.
Meanwhile I hurried to the Senate chamber via some photos of the people waiting in Trafalgar Square.
I was lucky to get a spot kneeling on a table that had been setup outside the windows of the Senate chamber – from there I was able to shoot the limosine arriving at the Public Buildings and still have a perfect view of Her Majesty opening Parliament.
She returned to Britannia around 5:30 pm and that was the end of her official duties for the day – whew!
Her Majesty was scheduled to leave on Concorde around 10:30 am. on Nov 2nd. There were many changes in the accessibility on roads around the airport that made getting to the main terminal side of the airport difficult.
I had grown up at the Barbados Light Airplane Club which had it's club house on the South side of the runway and I had often walked across the runway to view planes on the parking apron on the main side of the airport. I was also lucky that my brother John worked at Aero Services also on the South side and was able to get a drop across the runway with him.
I had got there very early and so was able to talk with the Concorde captains and find out roughly how far up the runway they expected to be airborn.
I was extremely lucky to get these photos – right after Her Majesty took the Royal Salute, my camera strap came undone and the camera crashed to the concrete tarmac!
This was with my last roll of film in the camera - fortunately it was a Nikon FTn with a heavy meter housing on top which took the force of the fall and the camera didn't pop open – whew!
As soon as Concorde started to taxi and passed me I began running as far and as fast as I could up the side of the runway (in the grass about 100 yds in from the runway).
The airport manager realized what I was doing and he came along with me – just about when we were ready to drop we could hear the roar of those Olympii engines and it was turn - click one, click two (that was this shot) and there were two frames left on the roll – what an adrenaline rush!
Don't let anyone tell you that the Queen's life was easy – I could not imagine having to do all the chores of being the monarch – a lot of stamina was definately required!