Barbados is all set to cut its colonial ties with the British monarchy as it becomes a Republic next month and remove Queen Elizabeth as its head of state.
Prince Charles will attend ceremonies in Barbados later this month as the Caribbean island officially becomes a republic, dropping his mother Queen Elizabeth II as head of state, his office said Friday.
The first president of the new Republic of Barbados will be Sandra Mason.
The former British colony became independent in 1966 but the Queen, 95, remains head of state, represented by a governor-general.
On November 30 — the 55th anniversary of independence — Sandra Mason, the 72-year-old current governor-general of Barbados, will be sworn in as its first president.
Charles, 72, will be the guest of honour at the celebrations on the invitation of Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, his personal office at Clarence House said.
It said the invitation reflected the fact that Charles will become the head of the Commonwealth when he becomes king. Barbados will remain within the 54-nation grouping.
The island, which has a population of just under 300,000, was claimed by the British in 1625. It has sometimes been called “Little England” for its loyalty to British customs.
It is relatively prosperous, and a popular tourist destination: before the Covid-19 pandemic, more than a million tourists visited its idyllic beaches and crystalline waters each year.
Mason announced in September 2020 that the country would break with Britain, saying “the time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind”.
A spokesman for Buckingham Palace said this was “a matter for the government and people of Barbados”.
Charles — who has for several years represented his mother on overseas trips because of her age — held a bilateral meeting with Mottley at the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.
At the conference, she warned that the failure to prevent climate change´s effects “was measured in lives and livelihoods in our communities”.
“That my friends is immoral and it is unjust,” she said, warning that a 2 percent rise in global warming would be a “death sentence” for islands such as Barbados.
When Barbados becomes a republic, the Queen, who next year celebrates 70 years on the throne, will remain monarch of 15 Commonwealth realms, in addition to the UK.
They include Australia, Canada, New Zealand, as well as smaller countries such as Antigua and Barbuda, Papua New Guinea and Tuvalu.
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