Overcast skies and a slight cooling breeze greeted the Earl and Countess of Wessex, as the royal couple arrived at the Parliament Buildings to help celebrate this country’s 375th anniversary of its historic Parliament.
Hundreds of the people stood about two rows thick behind barricades set up around Heroes Square to watch the pomp and ceremony as the local and overseas dignitaries arrived for the anniversary reception, organised by the Barbados Parliament and the local branch of the Commonwealth Society.
Outside the immediate precincts of the legislature – the third oldest in the Commonwealth – a contingent of the Barbados Defence Force accompanied by its Zouave Band, went through their military precision manoeuvres, including honouring Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave with the Royal Salute.
Once the Earl and Countess, Prince Edward and Sophie, had entered the Public Buildings compound, they were greeted by a special welcoming party, led by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.
Also in that welcoming party were chairman of the Royal Commonwealth Society in Barbados, Dame Maizie Barker-Welch and the presiding officers of the Houses of Parliament – Michael Carrington and Kerrie-Ann Ifill.
The dignitaries and specially invited guests, including members of Cabinet, the judiciary and business leaders, were serenaded by the melodic music of the Royal Barbados Police Force Band.
Among those attending the reception were former Cabinet ministers Sir David Simmons, Keith Simmons and Sir Frederick Smith, along with several retired judges.
Members of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party kept their promise to boycott the celebrations – at least to this point – in that none of them was seen at the reception.