By Prior Beharry
THIRTEEN years ago Harriet Cross was a junior diplomat based in New York, but came to Trinidad and Tobago for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and met Queen Elizabeth.
Speaking to AZP News at the Rotunda of the Red House in Port of Spain after the opening of the Third Session of the 12th Parliament last Monday, Cross, who is now the British High Commissioner to T&T, said Buckingham Palace had needed help with preparations for CHOGM held in Trinidad between November 27 to 29, 2009.
Cross said she was asked to assist with CHOGM since the Queen would have been visiting New York a year later.
She said, “So I came to Trinidad and I stayed on a cruise ship because there were no hotels left and I helped with the Queen’s visit as a very junior diplomat.
“At the end of the visit there was a big garden party at the High Commissioner’s residence and I stood there just to the side of the garden and the Queen came down the steps and she headed straight towards me and my freinds to say, ‘hello, how are you. Nice to see you.’
Crosss added, “And I really didn’t expect the Queen to speak to me because I was a junior official.
“But, I thought it was such a generous thing for her to do. She wasn’t looking for the most important person in the room she was looking for a friendly bunch of people to talk to.
“I just said how delighted I was to meet her, how much I enjoyed spending time with her and her team in Trinidad and Tobago.”
In 2020 when the High Commissioner position came up she applied and now stays at the same residence where she met the Queen.
Cross said, “Years later the job in T&T came up and I said to myself, ‘I remember meeting the Queen in T&T and I want that job’.”
The year T&T held CHOGM was the third and final time that Queen Elizabeth II visited Trinidad, having previously been to the country in 1966 and 1985.
The Queen passed away at Balmoral Castle on September 8, 2022, and her funeral will take place on Monday, September 19, 2022.
President Paula-Mae Weekes is in London and is one of 500 heads of state and world dignitaries invited to the funeral.
There have been long queues to view the coffin of the Queen lying in State at Westminster Hall. Her funeral will take place a short distance away at Westminster Abbey.
Click to read feature on Harriet Cross below: