Maureen Subero-Campbell relives her meeting with Princess Margaret in Arima

Maureen Subero-Campbell holds a bouquet of anthuriums. She presented Princess Margaret with a similiar one in 1955. - Angelo Marcelle
Maureen Subero-Campbell holds a bouquet of anthuriums. She presented Princess Margaret with a similiar one in 1955. - Angelo Marcelle

PICTURE IT: Trinidad, February 1955. Hundreds of citizens have lined the Churchill Roosevelt Highway, all with flags (the Union Jack), waving and paying tribute. Some are at Piarco Airport and hundreds more along the tarmac. They await the landing of the British Overseas Airways Corporation Boeing 377 Stratocruiser passenger airliner Canopus.

Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, is about to start her tour of some of the islands of the West Indies, beginning in Trinidad.

As she stepped off the plane, the first greetings came from Governor General Sir Hubert Elvin Rance and his wife. The energy and cheering of the crowd were electrifying, even though many of them had been waiting at the airport from the day before.

The princess left to attend her first function at the Arima Race Track (now Santa Rosa Park).

From here we'll take a look into the moment through the eyes of a little girl. Her name is Maureen Subero (her father Francis was the first mayor of Arima, in 1956). Maureen was 11 years old at the time.

Maureen Subero, 11, presents Princess Margaret with a bouquet of anthuriums at the Santa Rosa Park in Arima in 1955.

Maureen Subero-Campbell, now 77, was born on August 6, 1943, and relives some of the moments that stood out.

"They interviewed a few people at the Arima Girls' RC School where I attended. We had an interview with Miss Beckles – I can't remember if she was some outstanding person in the (Arima) Town Hall, Everyone had to do their little curtsy. When I did mine she said, 'That is what I wanted!' There were other people from the school that had a role to play.

"The morning we had to go see the princess, there was excitement in my house, with my family doing my hair for me. It was a lot of preparation. I had on a white angel dress with embroidered flowers and it was worked up.

"It was so much excitement. I remember the princess coming up in this black car and I was standing there (at the Arima Race Track). As she came out she went up a few steps and sat down. I walked up the stairs and when she faced me I curtsied and presented her with the bouquet."

Asked if it crossed her mind at the time that she was becoming a part of history, Subero-Campbell humbly said, "Not at all. Not at all. I just knew I was going to give flowers to this important person. I don't know it would come full circle.

Maureen Subero-Campbell re-enacts the curtsy she did in 1954 for Princess Margaret. - Angelo Marcelle

"My mother and father were really elated, especially my mother and sisters – because I'm the youngest of 11. It was a big event for my family. Some of my schoolmates were happy for me and some were upset because they didn't get through. They wanted to know why I was chosen. I was very surprised that I got the call to do it. There were about 15 girls that tried out, and about five chosen to participate.

"I'm glad even now to relive that moment. Surprised that someone remembered that moment. If I was more conscious that I was playing a part in history, I would have paid closer attention. It was really a big event. The place was packed and you couldn't get a seat. I took the occasion seriously but not to say I will keep all these memories. It was just a lovely feeling. I remember that much."

Princess Margaret, the younger sister of Queen Elizabeth, died at age 71 on February 9, 2002.


"Maureen Subero-Campbell relives her meeting with Princess Margaret in Arima"

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