A lot of attention has been paid by the international press to the “emblem dress” won by Queen Elizabeth II at a state dinner held for the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday night. The singularly ugly and ill-fitting dress (sorry, but my mother and grandmother were seamstresses and they would have been ashamed of the thing), which the press has deemed “stunning,” featured two of host nation Trinidad and Tobago’s national birds and its national flower: a brightly-hued scarlet ibis, a cocrico, and the scarlet chaconia flower. In a queenly thrifty way, the emblems are detachable and will allow the Queen to stitch other country’s emblems during other state visit (a maple leaf and moose for next year’s official visit to Canada, perhaps?)
The queen, who traveled to the West Indian nation with the Duke of Edinburgh to open the biennial meeting (CHOGM), had a lot of praise for Trinidad and Tobago. She paid tribute to Trinidad’s efforts fighting drug traffickers, as the country – like other parts of the Caribbean – is a staging post for cocaine smugglers. The monarch told the president: “Your government’s leadership on regional security has been rightly praised, particularly its pioneering efforts to encourage the sharing of good ideas and techniques in counter narcotics co-operation throughout the Caribbean.” The sporting exploits of cricketer Brian Lara, who holds the record for the highest test score – 400, were also highlighted. The Queen said: “The cultural achievements of your authors, painters and photographers enjoy wide renown in this, as were pleased to be reminded this afternoon, the birthplace of calypso music and the steel pan. “In the sporting world you have produced a batsman widely regarded as one of the finest ever to have played the game.”
My apologies to any royalist out there, but I see the old biddy—hardworking and full of noblesse oblige though she may be—as a symbol of a colonial control that lasted way too long.