World Barbados becomes the world's newest republic
How the Commonwealth arose from a crumbling British Empire
Barbados will soon remove Queen Elizabeth as its head of state—but remain part of this organization that’s headed by the British monarch. Here’s what it all means.In the 55 years since, Barbados has been among the former British territories to declare independence. While the country did part ways with Britain, it continued to pledge fealty to Queen Elizabeth II as a Commonwealth realm—one of 16 independent countries that recognize the British monarch as its head of state. For some, she’s the colonel-in-chief of their armed forces—and in all of them, she has the rarely exercised authority to sign off on their laws or diplomatic appointments.
Barbados has officially removed Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and became a republic in an overnight ceremony in the capital of Bridgetown.
Dame Sandra Mason was sworn in as president during a midnight event coinciding with the country's 55th anniversary of independence.
The Prince of Wales and Barbadian singer Rihanna attended the event.
In a speech, Prince Charles acknowledged the "appalling atrocity of slavery" the Caribbean island suffered.
To signify the official change of power, a final salute was made to the British monarchy and the Royal Standard flag was lowered and replaced.
Barbados is ready to ditch Britain's Queen. For many in the country, the move has been a long time coming
Queen Elizabeth will have one less realm next week when Barbados severs its final imperial links to Britain by removing the 95-year-old as its head of state and declaring itself a republic. The former British colony -- which gained independence in 1966 -- revived its plan to become a republic last September with the country's governor general, Sandra Mason, saying, "the time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind."Mason, a 73-year-old former jurist, will be sworn in as the first-ever president of the island nation of just under 300,000 at a ceremony late on Monday night.
Speaking as the guest of honour at the event, Prince Charles reiterated the continuing ties between the two nations despite the constitutional status change.
He described the moment as a new beginning and said he would always consider himself "a friend to Barbados" before being awarded the prestigious Order of Freedom Independence award by the new president.
Barbados announced is plan to become a republic last year, but it will remain within the Commonwealth.
Dame Sandra Mason, 72, the island's governor-general since 2018, was named as president-elect of the nation following a vote in parliament last month. She now replaces the Queen as the head of state.
"Vessel Republic Barbados has set sail on her maiden voyage. May she weather all storms and land our country and citizens safely on the horizons and shores which are ahead of us," she said after being sworn in.
Barbados bid farewell to the Queen and celebrate the birth of a republic
With the stroke of midnight, Barbados cut its last remaining bonds to the British monarchy after nearly 400 years. In a vibrant celebratory ceremony on Monday evening, the Caribbean island removed Queen Elizabeth II as head of state and inaugurated its first-ever President. © Jonathan Brady/PA Images/Getty Images Preparations begin for the ceremony in Heroes Square by the Barbados Parliament building where at midnight on November 29, 2021, Barbados will officially become a republic in Bridgetown, Barbados. Picture date: Monday November 29, 2021.
Leading national figures, including Prime Minister Mia Mottley, swore allegiance to Barbados in front of the new president at the ceremony, which lasted for several hours.
She later announced that pop star Rihanna would be named a national hero by President Mason. The artist and businesswoman, whose full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty, wasin 2018.
"May you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honour to your nation," Ms Mottley said, in reference to one of Rihanna's songs.
A 'seminal moment'
The country's prime minister has described the move to a republic as a "seminal moment" which will see Barbados fully leave its colonial past behind.
It was one of England's first slave colonies. English settlers first occupied the island in 1627 and, under British control, it became a sugar plantation economy using enslaved people brought in from Africa.
Slavery was abolished in Barbados in 1834 and the country became fully independent in 1966.
In his speech on Tuesday, Prince Charles spoke of the "appalling atrocity of slavery" which he said "forever stains our history".
Before Barbados, the last nation to remove the Queen as head of state was Mauritius in 1992.
With a population of about 285,000 people, Barbados is one of the more populous and prosperous Caribbean islands.
Once heavily dependent on sugar exports, its economy has diversified but has been hit hard by Covid-19 hurting tourism and rising prices caused by supply chain disruptions.
Barbados Declares Rihanna a National Hero as It Cuts Ties With Queen Elizabeth II, Becomes a Republic .
The multi-hyphenate was honored by her home country as Barbados cuts colonial-era ties to the British throne.The Fenty founder received a high honor from her home country on Monday and was named a National Hero by Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley in a ceremony marking the country's split from the British throne to become its own republic.