At the end of this week, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will embark on a tour of the Caribbean as part of the celebrations of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Ahead of their arrival in Belize on Saturday, we’re looking back at some glittering moments from royal visits to the Caribbean over the years. First up: a dazzling outing from the royal lady most associated with the area, Princess Margaret.
In the spring of 1958, Princess Margaret left Britain for a tour of the West Indies. The nearly month-long tour took her to several countries. In April, she arrived in Trinidad to act as the Queen’s special representative at the inauguration of the Federal Parliament of the West Indies Federation. The legislative body existed from 1958 until 1962. After the inauguration, Margaret attended a state dinner at the residence of the new Governor-General of the West Indies Federation, Lord Hailes.
Here, Margaret is pictured with Lady Hailes as she arrives for the dinner. Her gown for the evening was given special attention by the press. Designed by Norman Hartnell, the powder blue gown featured an overlay of blue and silver lace, embroidered with silver and scattered with blue and white crystals. A large bow decorated the front of the skirt.
Margaret, pictured here with Lord Hailes during the dinner, also wore several British decorations: the sash and star of the Royal Victorian Order, as well as the Royal Family Orders of her father and her sister, and the Order of the Crown of India.
Jewels set with diamonds, sapphires, and pearls were Margaret’s accessories for the evening. She wore Queen Mary’s Sunray Bandeau with its sapphire and diamond center element. (Many of us are hoping that the tiara remains in the palace vaults today.) She also wore her diamond and sapphire earrings, now worn by her daughter, Lady Sarah Chatto.
She wore the Lady Mount Stephen Necklace, plus a pair of pearl bracelets. The bracelets feature a pair of bejeweled buckles, one with the cypher of King William IV and the other with the cypher of his wife, Queen Adelaide, as clasps.
She secured the sash of the Royal Victorian Order with a pair of brooches: a diamond floral brooch pinned to her bodice, and a gemstone cluster brooch (surely set with a sapphire) pinned at her shoulder.