Last year, Barbados announced its intention to become a republic while still remaining a part of the Commonwealth. In an overnight ceremony that took place in the capital, Bridgetown, Mia Mottley, swore allegiance to Barbados in front of the new president. The ceremony lasted for a few hours and Dame Sandra Mason was sworn in as the president.
The ceremony was attended by the Prince of Wales and Barbadian artist Rihanna. Barbados' new age brings an end to Britain's decades of dominance, which included more than 200 years as a transatlantic slave traffic hub. A final salute was given to the British monarchy, and the Royal Standard flag was lowered and replaced to mark the official shift of power.
A special place in Queen’s heart
Following the new change in Barbados, the Queen has sent her warm wishes and a heartfelt message to the new republic and its people. In her message, she wrote to Dame Sandra Mason:
On this significant occasion and your assumption of office as the first President of Barbados, I extend my congratulations to you and all Barbadians.
After her first visit to Barbados in 1966, the Queen has held a special place for its people.
Since then, the people of Barbados have held a special place in my heart; it is a country rightfully 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.
Reminiscing over the history Barbados has had with the UK, the Queen expressed her desire for a continued mutual friendship in the future.
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.
Finally, in the end, the Queen wishes the country well as they celebrate the life-changing decision.
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.
Barbados was one of the first slave colonies in England. The island was first inhabited by English immigrants in 1627. It employed enslaved people brought in from Africa after becoming a sugar plantation economy. However, the nation gained independence in 1966. Before Prime Minister Mia Mottley took the historic decision last year, the question of becoming a republic had been debated at the national level for decades. Mauritius was the latest country to depose the Queen as head of state before Barbados in 1992.