Barbados ditches Britain's Queen Elizabeth to become a republic
The Caribbean island nation of Barbados has finished preparations and is set to sever centuries-old ties to the British monarchy on Monday night as it ditches Queen Elizabeth II as head of state and declares itself the world's newest republic, News.Az reports citing AFP.
The Royal Standard flag that represents the queen will be lowered in the capital Bridgetown and – at midnight (4 a.m. GMT) – the current governor-general, Dame Sandra Mason, will be inaugurated as the first president.
Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, will attend the "Pride of Nationhood" ceremony, which is set to include military parades, a mounted guard of honor, gun salutes, dances and fireworks.
The new era for Barbados has fueled debate among the population of 285,000 over colonialism and Britain's centuries of influence, including more than 200 years of slavery until 1834.
And Prince Charles' visit was clouded at the last minute by another race row over alleged comments about his grandson.
Charles' youngest son Prince Harry and his wife Meghan – who has a black mother and a white father – have said an unnamed royal asked how dark their unborn first child's skin would be.
After a new book reportedly claimed that Charles was responsible, his spokesperson said that "this is fiction and not worth further comment."
Barbados, famous for its idyllic beaches, love of cricket, and as the birthplace of singer Rihanna, won independence from Britain in 1966.
In October, it elected Mason to become its first president, one year after Prime Minister Mia Mottley declared the country would "fully" leave behind its colonial past.