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Princess Royal gets The Keys to the City

Published:Friday | March 24, 2023 | 7:53 AM
Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal being welcomed by the Governor Sir Kenneth Blackburne on her arrival at Victoria Pier on March 7, 1960.
HRH the Princess Royal (centre) receives from the mayor of Kingston, Iris King, (right wearing ceremonial robes), the address of Welcome at the Civic Reception accorded her on March 7, 1960 by the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation at the King George VI Memorial Park. At extreme left is Sir Kenneth Blackburne. Left of the Princess is Major Geoffrey Eastwood, a member of the Household, while on her right is Lady Blackburne. At the extreme right is Sir Alexander Bustamante.

On her visit to Jamaica, Princess Royal was presented with The Keys to the City. She was praised for her interest and her actions towards improving the lives of youth. In her address, she pledged to continue her work with the younger generation.

Published Tuesday, March 8, 1960

Jamaica welcomes Princess Royal

- Princess says at civic reception, "I look forward to seeing work of youth groups."

Thirty-five minutes after HRH the Princess Royal arrived in Jamaica, she sat under a canopy on a dais at King George VI Memorial Park in bright tropical sunshine and received a civic reception from the mayor and councillors of the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC).

The Princess Royal sat a few yards from the Ceiba Pentandra tree (known locally as the cotton tree) which was planted by the Princess' niece, Queen Elizabeth II, when she visited the island in November 1953.

The Governor, Sir Kenneth Blackburne; the Hon Norman Manley, Premier; Iris King, mayor; Sir Alexander Bustamante, leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives; Russell LeWars, town clerk; and  Seaward H. King, husband of the mayor, last in the front row with the Princess Royal.

On the arrival of the Princess Royal, the Jamaica Military Band played the National Anthem.  The mayor was presented to the Princess Royal by the governor and she, in turn, presented the town clerk Mr LeWars and Mr King, to the Princess Royal.

The mayor later presented to the Princess Royal members of the KSAC Council (those just elected but not yet sworn in) and their wives, followed by officials of the corporation and their wives.

The members presented were Balfour Barnswell, Enid Burke, Victoria Grant, and Doris L. Young, Vivan Lewis, Benjamin J. Bygrave, Harold Ellis, Roderick Francis, Frank E. Spaulding, Rushworth H. Thompson, Guy W. Turnbull, Roy E. Allen, L. Currie, Jason Gordon, Herbert Hall, Noel Hall, Marcus Hamilton, Edward C. Jarrett, Jerome L. Palmer, Hector Sage, Aglon V. Samuels, A. Sephesteine, Wesley Shirley, David Walker and L. Wright.

At the invitation of the mayor, the town clerk read the Address of Welcome granting the Princess Royal the Freedom of the City.  This address, together with the Keys of the City, was later presented to the Princess Royal by the mayor after which Her Royal Highness signed the register.

The address stated: “Your Royal Highness, the mayor and council of the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation, on behalf of the citizens of this municipality, extend to you a warm and sincere welcome to our city.  We have pleasant memories of past visits of others members of the Royal Family for whom we in Jamaica have a deep affection and respect.  We welcome the opportunity of demonstrating once again our loyalty to the British Throne and our affection for Her Majesty the Queen and all members of the Royal Family.



‘Although this is the first time that we have the honour and great pleasure of welcoming Your Royal Highness to our island, we feel that you are no stranger to us, having taken such an interest and played so great a part in the work of youth organisations which we in Jamaica sponsor and support. Your interest in these organizations represented in Jamaica has been a source of inspiration and encouragement to those who work among our young people. Your work in the fields of nursing, hospital care and child welfare has been an outstanding example of unselfish devotion to the cause of humanity.

“We deem it a great privilege that we have the opportunity to meet you in person here today, and trust that your visit will cement still further the invisible links of love and respect which bind ourselves and other territories of our infant federation so closely to the British throne.

“In expression of the high esteem which we have for your Royal Highness, we present you this Key, symbolic of the Freedom of the City of Kingston, and pray that your sojourn in our beautiful island will be a happy one, and that Your Royal Highness will take from our shores most pleasant memories of your stay among us.”

Before the Princess Royal was invited by the mayor to reply to the Address of Welcome, the Jamaica Military Band played Linstead Market, a popular Jamaican tune whose pulsating beat made the Princess Royal tap her toes occasionally.


Her Royal Highness replying, said:

“Your Worship,

“I thank you and the councillors and citizens of the municipality most warmly for the very kind address of welcome and for the generous terms in which it is couched. Indeed, after such an address and after the welcome which I received this morning, I do not feel like a stranger.  Already I am among friends.

“I thank you, too, Mr Mayor, for presenting me with this key, which I shall treasure as a symbol of the warmth and friendliness with which you have received me this morning.

“I have been greatly looking forward to my first visit to Jamaica, and this ceremony today provides an ideal start to my stay with you.  It is for me a happy thought that this ceremony is being held in the Park which you have named after my brother, King George, the sixth, and at the place where you have already welcomed my nieces, Her Majesty the Queen and Princess Margaret.

“And it is a pleasing thought that I should be welcomed by you, Mr Mayor, the first Lady Mayor in Jamaica.

“I was glad to be met at the entrance to the park by representatives of the ex-servicemen’s organisations, and I have been happy to hear that the welfare of ex-servicemen in Jamaica is in such very good hands.

“I am delighted, too, to see so many young people here today.  As you have so charmingly said, Mr Mayor, I have a deep interest in work for youth, and I am greatly looking forward to seeing something of the work done by youth organisations and other voluntary organisations in Jamaica, a country which has a fine reputation for voluntary effort by many people.

“I thank you all for your most kind welcome and I ask you and all the citizens of Kingston and St Andrew to accept my good wishes for continued happiness and prosperity in the future.”

Three rousing cheers, called for by the mayor, were given by more than 2,000 schoolchildren of the Corporate Area, assisted by the huge crowd of onlookers, and the playing of the National Anthem brought the function to a close.

The Princess Royal was conducted to her car by the mayor.

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