Barbados declared itself the world’s latest republic on Tuesday, formally severing ties with Queen Elizabeth II and the British royal household.
At a midnight ceremony in its capital of Bridgetown, the Caribbean island nation put in Dame Sandra Mason as its new president and head of state. Mason had beforehand served as governor-general, Elizabeth’s official consultant within the nation.
“Vessel Republic Barbados has set sail on her maiden voyage,” Mason mentioned after being sworn in. “May she weather all storms and land our country and citizens safely on the horizons and shores which are ahead of us.”
Barbados introduced plans to turn into a republic final yr, ending almost 400 years of British presence within the nation.
It has been an impartial nation since 1966, however the queen had served as formal head of state, as she nonetheless does for Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Jamaica, amongst different nations.
Her oldest son, Prince Charles, was in attendance for the ceremony, watching on because the British monarch’s royal commonplace flag was lowered after which changed.
Charles was awarded the Order of Freedom of Barbados, telling the brand new nation that his mom wished them properly.
He additionally spoke out towards the British colonial historical past of slavery within the nation, which had been one in all England’s authentic colonies for enslaved folks.
“From the darkest days of our past, and the appalling atrocity of slavery, which forever stains our history, the people of this island forged their path with extraordinary fortitude,” Charles mentioned in his speech.
“Tonight you write the next chapter of your nation’s story,” the prince mentioned.
After she swore allegiance to the brand new president, Prime Minister Mia Mottley made positive one of many first official acts of the brand new republic was to honor one in all their most well-known native daughters: the singer Rihanna.
The music famous person, who was named an envoy in 2018 and was in attendance at Tuesday’s ceremony, was declared a nationwide hero for “commanding the imagination of the world through the pursuit of excellence, with her creativity, her discipline, and, above all else, her extraordinary commitment to the land of her birth.”
“May you continue to shine like a diamond,” the prime minister mentioned.