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Barbados cutting ties with Queen Elizabeth, becoming republic at midnight

Barbados is set to sever ties with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and will officially declare itself a republic at midnight on Tuesday, cutting its final ties to its Britain colonial past.

The Queen will be replaced by Sandra Mason — the country’s first president — in an inauguration ceremony on Tuesday as a symbolic figure behind Prime Minister Mia Mottley, Reuters reported.

This comes as the country is set to cut off imperial ties about 400 years after English ships first arrived in Barbados. The island nation won its independence from the British in 1966 but decided to continue recognizing the U.K monarch as its sovereign.

Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne and future head of the Commonwealth, is set to deliver a speech just after midnight on Tuesday, where he will stress that the relationship between the two nations will remain the same, according to Reuters.

“As your constitutional status changes, it was important to me that I should join you to reaffirm those things which do not change. For example, the close and trusted partnership between Barbados and the United Kingdom as vital members of the Commonwealth,” reads an excerpt of his speech released by the prince’s office.

This decision was almost a year in the making after Mason vowed last year that Barbados would become a republic as soon as November 2021, when the Caribbean nation marks its 55th anniversary of independence.

“Having obtained independence over half a century ago, our country can be in no doubt about its capacity for self-governance. The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind,” Sandra Mason, who currently serves as the island’s governor-general, said in 2020 in a speech written by Prime Minister Mia Mottley.

Mason, 72, was elected as its first president last month.

Buckingham Palace has said that the move is a decision for the people and leaders of Barbados. The last country to remove the Queen as head of state was Mauritius in 1992.

Queen Elizabeth II currently remains the head of state in 15 other countries previously under British rule, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Jamaica.

Many political commentators believe that Barbados’s move will spark similar conversations in those countries as well.

Barbados is not the first former British colony in the Caribbean to become a republic. A similar move was taken by Guyana in 1970, Trinidad and Tobago in 1976 and Dominica in 1978.

Tags Barbados Colonial Britain Queen Elizabeth II royal family

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