Prince Charles arrives in Barbados ahead of state visit
Queen Elizabeth II, 95, marked Barbados’ “momentous day” after the nation removed the British monarch as its head of state. The decision to become a republic comes over a decade after Bridgetown first considered holding a referendum on whether or not Barbados should stay a constitutional monarchy.
However, the Barbadian government decided in 2020 to push ahead with the changes.
In a message sent to Barbados’ first president Dame Sandra Mason, 72, the Queen said: “On this significant occasion and your assumption of office as the first president of Barbados, I extend my congratulations to you and all Barbadians.
“I first visited your beautiful country on the eve of independence in early 1966, and I am very pleased that my son is with you today.
“Since then, the people of Barbados have held a special place in my heart; it is a country rightly proud of its vibrant culture, its sporting prowess, and its natural beauty, that attracts visitors from all over the world, including many people from the United Kingdom.
JUST IN: Cricket legend Sir Garfield Sobers in 'shock' over Barbados' decision to become a republic
Queen sends message to Barbados as Caribbean nation becomes a republic - 'Good wishes!'
She added: “Over the years, our countries have enjoyed a partnership based on common values, shared prosperity, and close collaboration on a wide range of issues, including recent work on climate change.
“It is also a source of great satisfaction that Barbados remains an active participant within the Commonwealth, and I look forward to the continuation of the friendship between our two countries and peoples.
“As you celebrate this momentous day, I send you and all Barbadians my warmest good wishes for your happiness, peace and prosperity in the future.
READ MORE: Kate's birthday tradition for George, Charlotte and Louis laid bare
Queen in Barbados
The constitutional transition was represented by a ceremony attended by leading figures from the Caribbean country.
Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley, 56, and Saint Michael-born singer Rihanna, 33, were among the stars in attendance.
Prince Charles, 73, joined others at the inauguration ceremony.
The Prince of Wales delivered a speech to those in attendance, which also marked the 55th anniversary of Barbados’ independence from Britain.
Queen 'wisely' included 'catch' clause in deal with Sussexes [REVEALED]
Queen 'can't stand' Kate and William’s habit with royal children [INSIGHT]
Prince Harry told ‘Megxit’ origin is Brexit in row over term [OPINION]
Celebrations following Barbados becoming a republic
Despite the historic significance, the decision to cut ties with the Crown has worried many as the last time the British monarch was removed as head of state was in 1992 when Mauritius became a republic.