With the coronation date of England’s King Charles III fast approaching, British ex-pat Lisette Stevens recounts her meeting with him when he visited Dominica in 2017. Having weathered the devastation of Hurricane Maria, and 15 days of isolation in the island’s interior, she spoke to DNO about the day that Ms. Tina Alexander arrived via helicopter to check on their welfare and invite them to meet with King Charles III at the Botanical Gardens. The itinerary, which included a visit to Point Michel and some organic farms allowed Lisette to have the would-be King’s ear for a few moments of what she describes as a “short, happy” interaction and depicts him as “very gracious.”
Stevens, who bought land in 2005 and moved to the island in 2007, is originally from Cornwall, England. She relocated from Antigua, where she lived for 18 years, and worked as one of LIAT’s travel writers from 1995 till her departure. Putting her passionate love for the Nature Isle to canvas she produced original paintings of the national parrots and other birds for the Forestry Division under then-head Jaqui Andre.
Since King Charles, dubbed ‘the climate king’, is known for being committed to the cause of nature, Lisette and Ms. Alexander agreed that it would be appropriate to present the monarch with a painting she had done of the national bird–the Sisserou Parrot. As would befit his long history of environmental activism, King Charles, in conversation, wanted to know more about the parrots of Dominica. Specifically, he took a keen interest in whether any of the birds had survived the storm. She reassured him that there were still parrots remaining in her area at the time.
In an era when the relevance of a British monarchy can come into question, especially amongst former colonies, is there significance in a monarch (and head of the Commonwealth) who is sympathetic to conservationist causes for member countries like Dominica–Nature Island of the Caribbean?
Maybe the importance of symbolism here cannot be discounted. According to Stevens, the short visit to the country by His Majesty did greatly boost morale, at a time when it was needed.
The artist, who lives in the Layou Valley, professes great love for her adopted home and feels strongly that “a lot of people need to know about the beautiful Nature Island of the Caribbean.”
Lisette will be featured on BBC Radio 2’s, Radio 2 Celebrates the Coronation: ‘The King and I’ which will air live this Sunday (April 30) at 8 p.m., which is 3 p. m. our time.