Queen Elizabeth II arrived in Trinidad today, on the eve of a three-day Commonwealth summit she is to open and a ady after she learned she will remain–at least for the time being–head of the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. TheBritish monarch flew in to the capital Port of Spain on a special British Airways aircraft and stepped off to a welcome from Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Patrick Manning, a white-clad honor guard and a group of school children waving the Union Jack.
Queen Elizabeth, 83, wore green summer dress and matching high-brimmed hat, and black gloves as she shook hands with political and military dignitaries. She stood calmly on the hot airport tarmac as a band played “God Save the Queen,” which was nearly drowned out by car alarms set off by an accompanying ceremonial firing of gunshots, a television broadcast showed.
The queen’s arrival was immediately preceded by that of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Other leaders were to follow throughout Thursday.
The summit is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Commonwealth, a 53-nation body representing two billion people that has its origins in what used to be the British empire. Unusually, non-Commonwealth leaders UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen are to address the gathering on Friday as part of an effort to influence UN climate change talks to be held in Copenhagen December 7-18.