In 1953, when Queen Elizabeth had been monarch for little over a year. she and her husband Philip, began a round-the-world tour of the Commonwealth which lasted from November 1953 to May 1954. This poem, The Two Queens, tells the story of the moment the Queen stopped in my mother's village.
How The Young Queen Elizabeth Inspired My Mother
It started with the visit of the Queen
to Geneva, the small enclave where my
mother lived, so tiny I could never
find it on a map. Teacher Robinson
had stood against the establishment to
"represent the interests of the rural
worker," and the men of Westmoreland came
out in their hundreds to vote. And the Queen
heard – yes yes, that Queen – and rumour had it
she said, "I want to meet the black man who
won so many votes." And the children of
Westmoreland came out in their hundreds to
wave in red, white and blue as she found my
mother’s village, so small I could never
find it on a map.
When the children and cheering drifted home
her grandma asked, "You saw the Queen. What was
she like?" "A girl like any other," my
mother said, "We have girls in Jamaica
as pretty as she." But she had fallen
in love with the Queen's dress. "I can make clothes
as beautiful for our women right here,"
she said. And the next day she started her
savings for a Singer sewing machine.
- Antoinette Brooks