Princess Margaret visited the West Indies as the representative of Her Majesty The Queen in order to inaugurate the first session of the newly formed Federal Legislature there. They arrived at Port of Spain, Trinidad, on 20 April 1958 during the hottest weather the island had experienced for many years, having flown across the Atlantic by B.O.A.C. plane Britannia, the first passenger plane to land in Trinidad. She was received by The Governor General, Lord Hailes and his wife, with whom she stayed during her visit. She opened the Legislature two days later in sweltering heat.
The Federation of the West Indies was a self-governing state made up of ten provinces, all British colonial possessions. The federation was created in 1958 to include most of the British West Indies with the Queen as head of state and Patrick Buchan-Hepburn, 1st Baron Hailes as Governor-General. It was intended that the Federation would become an independent state, satisfying the demands for independence from the region. The Federation never achieved full sovereignty, either as a Commonwealth realm or as a republic within the Commonwealth and was dissolved in 1962.