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The monarchy rules, okay?

Richard Hoad

The monarchy rules, okay?

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According to the Internet, we Hoads have a long association with the Barbados British monarchy. In 1066, William The Conqueror granted the Rape Of Hastings to the Baron de Hoades, a French nobleman, for assistance rendered in the Norman Invasion. (Google Hoad – Rape Of Hastings.)
This gave us the right to have our way with any young women in that area. Most brothers never got past the Garrison, but Billsie, wielding his formidable curved scimitar, is said to have plundered deep and wide as far as Marine Gardens and beyond.
As a member of the 1928 West Indies cricket team, my father Teddy Hoad shook hands with King George V, a feat we rated far higher than his exploits on the field.
In 1952, this writer saved over half his 30 cents lunch money every day to buy Coronation medals from a store at the corner of James Street, a sacrifice which no doubt spurred post-war economic recovery in Britain and Barbados. He was rewarded with a golden Coronation carriage toy that Christmas with horses and all.
Finally, there was the celebrated War of the Roses, of which you may have read in your history books. My mother was a major player.
While on tour in 1953, the new Queen was due to pass Vaucluse yard gap. Mummy abandoned her kitchen and hastened thither to join the assembled crowd, pausing only to cut a bunch of roses from our garden.
Loud hurrahs signalled the Royal approach. Finally, there she was, the radiant young Queen! Mummy waved her roses vigorously. But joy turned to consternation when the Queen ordered the car to stop and beckoned her forward.
Her Majesty obviously thought she was being presented with a bouquet and reached for the roses. This would’ve spelt disaster as Mummy hadn’t had time to cut off the pimplers.
Reports from here on vary. Mummy claims she held the roses out of reach while repeating “Beautiful! Beautiful!” – the only words that came to mind. Others tell of a royal tug of war between the ladies with the Queen going: “A rose, a rose, my kingdom for a rose!”
Suffice it to say that for weeks afterwards the villagers proudly recounted how: “De Queen stop fuh de Mistress!”
I am unashamedly in favour of the monarchial system. It works. The same cannot be said of the conflict-ridden Trini or Guyanese republican models.
And if Bajans choose to sever links with the British crown, we can still retain the monarchy. Were Sir Elliott declared King Belly The First or whatever, he would have my full support.
However, I was overwhelmed by the response in St Lawrence Gap in honour of the Queen’s Jubilee. Teeming throngs! The place was rammed! Emcee KB Kleen in fine form. Smiling faces all around as Bajans and visitors from other islands and abroad mingled, danced and jubilated happily together. A Trini lass wished me an enthusiastic “Happy Queen’s Birthday!” But got it right the second time.
And what a boon for commercial activity! The monarchy delivered. Never-ending crowds for English fish and chips in newspaper. I never even got close. Fun and games. An English band. Not only were cardboard face masks of the Royal Family on sale, they sold out at $10 each.
My wife wanted me to sleep in mine so she could wake up next to Prince William.
There must be a message here. What a joy to see that numbers will turn out for clean tourism and we do not need the Mafia-style sleazy casino variety now again being touted.
The monarchy works for Barbados since, even in the present arrangement, most of us consider the Governor General our Head of State. And what a fine array of outstanding Bajans have held that post!
While warmly congratulating Sir Elliott, however, I must caution him against repeating the idiosyncrasies of his predecessor. Sir Clifford, a man after my own heart, not only invited a notorious goat farmer to his soirées, he had him to dinner one night in company of one or more chieves justice, a brace of knights gartered and other notables to a tally of about eight. Never was a human more out of place.
   And while I love Sir Clifford more dearly than the spoken word can tell and wish him well in his retirement, I am nevertheless relieved that I will never have to live through that again.
   God save the Queen, Sir Clifford and Sir Elliott!
• Richard Hoad is a farmer and social commentator. Email [email protected]