The Queen has sent a message to the new President of Barbardos, Sandra Mason, who has replaced her as Head of State on the independent island.
Writing to President Mason and the people of Barbados, Her Majesty said ”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’s message was sent just hours after the Prince of Wales had been present at the formal ending of royal rule in Barbados and the swearing in of Sandra Mason as President.
The Queen continued in her statement, ”I first visited your beautiful country on the eve of independence in early 1966 and I am very pleased that my son is with you today. Since then, the people of Barbados have held a special place in my heart; it is a country rightfully proud of its vibrant culture, its sporting prowess, and its natural beauty, that attracts visitors from all over the world, including many people from the United Kingdom.”
Following the transition, Barbados is now an independent republic within the Commonwealth. The Queen made reference to that, as she continued ”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. 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 people.”
The message finished with more congratulations as Her Majesty said ”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.”
The message was signed ‘Elizabeth R’.
Barbados has discussed becoming a republic for decades. In the summer of 2020, the Prime Minister, Mia Mottley, announced plans for the country to become a republic. In the early autumn of 2021, its parliament passed the necessary bills and on October 12th 2021, the country’s Governor General, Sandra Mason, was formally nominated as President.
On November 30th, the official handover of power took place at a ceremony in Bridgetown as midnight struck. The Royal Standard was lowered and the formal declaration of the transition to a republic took place. The Prince of Wales, as future Head of the Commonwealth, was invited to attend by the government of Barbados. In his speech at the ceremony, the Prince spoke of new beginnings and acknowledged the wrongs of the past, saying ‘From the darkest days of our past and the appalling atrocity of slavery, which forever stains our history, people of this island forged their path with extraordinary fortitude.”
He watched as Sandra Mason was sworn in as President.
Soon afterwards, President Mason said in her inaugural speech ”Republic Barbados has set sail on her maiden voyage….our country must dream big dreams and fight to realise them.”