Barbados removes Queen as head of state to become world’s newest republic

The heir to the throne said he will always be a friend of the Caribbean island (Image: Getty/Rex)

Prince Charles Labeled slavery a ‘terrible atrocity’, it ‘forever stains our history’ at a ceremony marking Barbados’ severing ties with the monarchy and becoming a into a republic.

The Prince of Wales succeeded at a time when the UK was a leader in the transatlantic slave trade in what has been called ‘the darkest days of our past’.

He said the ‘establishment of this republic offers a new beginning’ for the Caribbean nation, which bid farewell to the Queen at midnight.

When Charles becomes King, he will be the head of state of many countries in the Caribbean and his words will be recorded throughout the region.

But Barbados’ link to the British monarchy – spanning centuries – was severed when the nation’s first president, Dame Sandra Mason, was sworn in, replacing the Queen as head of state. .

In an outdoor televised ceremony in the capital, Bridgetown, the Queen addressed the new president of the republic and her people ‘best wishes for your happiness, peace and prosperity. Future’

She also said the island nation has a ‘special place’ in her heart for its ‘vibrant culture, athletic prowess and natural beauty’.

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Charles, speaking to guests including singer Rihanna and the prime minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, said: ‘The founding of this Republic offers a fresh start, but it also marks a point on a string. Continuity, a milestone on the long road that you don’t just go. , but which you have built.

‘From the darkest days of our past, and the terrible brutality of slavery, which forever dyes our history, the people of this island have forged their way. with extraordinary tenacity.

‘Liberation, self-governance and Independence are your paths.

‘Freedom, justice and self-determination have been your guide.

‘The long journey that has brought you to this point is not your destination, but a vantage point from which to explore a new horizon.’

The country became a new republic as the clock struck midnight on Tuesday morning in Bridgetown, (Image: Reuters)
Barbados hosted the event on the 50th anniversary of its independence from Britain (Image: REX)

The heir to the throne witnessed the symbolic moment the Queen’s standards were lowered for the last time and the presidential flag was raised in place on Tuesday, November 30th – marking the The 55th anniversary of Barbados’ independence from Britain.

Boris Johnson said the UK and Barbados would remain ‘steadfast friends and allies’ with a ‘partnership built to last’.

There were protests ahead of the ceremony, with activists in Barbados demanding an apology and compensation from the monarchy and the UK Government for their role in the slave trade.

Great Britain legalized slavery on the island in 1661.

Successive kings favored or profited from transporting and selling people for profit in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Charles has not expressed regret over Barbados’ decision (Image: Getty Images)
Charles met singer Rihanna at the ceremony (Image: Reuters)

Anti-slavery campaigners were opposed by the Duke of Clarence, son of George III, who later became William IV.

The royal family and the rest of the pro-slavery lobby would eventually lose the battle when abolitionists including William Wilberforce passed a bill banning the slave trade in 1807.

Charles’ speech was purely positive and did not express regret at the decision of the Barbados leaders.

He listed ways he would ‘continue to be deeply committed to this very special country’, highlighting Prince’s Trust International’s ongoing efforts to support young people of Barbados and his work with their governments on issues like climate change.

The Prince added: ‘I will always consider myself a friend of Barbados.’

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Britain’s commitment to maintaining a strong relationship with the Caribbean nation also appeared a priority, with a trade delegation of 25 British companies, for the first time in three years, visiting earlier this month. this month with Darren Henry, the Prime Minister’s trade envoy to the Caribbean.

Graham Smith, executive director of Republic, which campaigns for an elected head of state, said Barbados’ decision could affect others: ‘A huge congratulations to Barbados for the timing. this history in their nation’s story.

‘Barbados is not only doing himself a favor but is also showing the way to 15 other Commonwealth kingdoms.’

He added: ‘The transition in Barbados has also prompted calls for slave restitution and apologies from royals because their families were involved in the slave trade.

‘Those appeals aren’t going away and there’s no way the royals walk out of that debate without doing significant damage to their reputations.’

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Huynh Nguyen

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