Prince Charles paid a visit to Barbados as the Caribbean nation prepares to sever imperial ties and retire the Queen as ruler some 400 years after the arrival of the first English ships.
Barbados gained independence from Great Britain in 1966, but retained Queen Elizabeth as its official sovereign. She will be replaced by a President of Barbados at an investiture ceremony that will take place when the country celebrates its independence on Tuesday.
Getting rid of the last vestiges of a colonial system that once spanned the globe will have no direct impact on Barbados’ economy or trade relations.
Prince Charles will deliver a speech just after midnight on Tuesday, declaring that much of the relations between the two nations will remain the same, including “the countless relations between the peoples of our countries – through which flow admiration and affection, cooperation and opportunity. “
Buckingham Palace said the matter was up to the people of Barbados.
It will be the first time in three decades that the Queen has been removed from her post as Head of State. Mauritius, an island in the Indian Ocean, proclaimed itself a republic in 1992.
The celebration will start late Monday and continue until Tuesday, when Sandra Mason is sworn in as the country’s first president to serve as the largely symbolic figure behind Prime Minister Mia Mottley.
Mason currently holds the post of Governor General, representing the Queen in Barbados.
The change may stimulate discussion of similar proposals in other former British colonies that have Queen Elizabeth as ruler, including Jamaica, Australia and Canada.
Mottley in a speech on Saturday said the founding of the republic was a step forward for Barbados, but added that citizens must face challenges such as inequality and climate change with the same fervor with which they sought independence in the twentieth century.
“As we set out to become a parliamentary republic after 396 years of British monarchy … I ask us to recognize that the challenges may have changed, but they are as daunting as they have ever been,” said Mottley said at the opening of a park. which honors the independence activists of Barbados.