Barbados has officially become a republic, parting ways with the British Monarchy and removing Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state. During a midnight ceremony, the nation swore in its new president, Sandra Mason.
Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, was in attendance and acknowledged in his speech the “appalling atrocity of slavery” the country had suffered for about 200 years. “The creation of this republic offers a new beginning,” Prince Charles, who was representing the Queen, said.
Barbadian singer Rihanna was also in attendance and was declared a national hero. “May you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honour to your nation by your works, by your actions,” Prime Minister Mia Mottley told Rihanna.
“We the people must give Republic Barbados its spirit and its substance… 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.” — Barbados’ first President, Sandra Mason, in her inaugural speech.