Queen Elizabeth is sending her regards to Barbados as the country becomes the world’s newest republic.
The Queen, 95, was removed as head of state when the island nation cut ties with her Monday in an official ceremony. Barbados President Sandra Mason — who previously served as governor-general — is now head of state. In a letter sent to Mason, the monarch congratulated both her and Barbados on their new status.
“On this significant occasion and your assumption of office as the first president of Barbados, I extend my congratulations to you and all Barbadians,” the Queen wrote.
“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,” she continued. “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.”
The Queen ended her note with “warmest wishes,” writing, “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,” and signing the letter, “Elizabeth R.”
Queen Elizabeth II attends an event in celebration of The Big Lunch initiative at The Eden Project during the G7 Summit on June 11, 2021 in St Austell, Cornwall, England. UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, hosts leaders from the USA, Japan, Germany, France, Italy and Canada at the G7 Summit.
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Barbados first gained independence from Britain in 1966. The nation announced in September that they would be removing Queen Elizabeth as head of state, and ended nearly 400 years of British rule Monday, according to The New York Times.
While the Queen did not attend the Monday ceremony, Prince Charles flew into Barbados for the event, where he represented the British monarch. His appearance marked the first time a senior member of the royal family has attended such a handover ceremony.
During his speech, Charles pointed to Britain’s role in the slave trade and the country’s part in trafficking people from Africa, Barbados and the Caribbean, telling attendees, “From the darkest days of our past, and the appalling atrocity of slavery, which forever stains our history, the people of this island forged their path with extraordinary fortitude.”
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He added, “Emancipation, self-government and independence were your way-points. Freedom, justice and self-determination have been your guides. Your long journey has brought you to this moment, not as your destination, but as a vantage point from which to survey a new horizon.”