Barbados has removed Queen Elizabeth-II as the head of the state Monday might and declared itself the world’s newest republic.
During today’s ceremony, the Royal Standard flag representing the queen was lowered while the governor-general, Dame Sandra Mason, was sworn in as the first President of the Caribbean island.
Thousands of people gathered in the capital, Bridgetown and a 21-gun salute fired as the national anthem of Barbados was played over a crowded Heroes Square.
According to media reports, Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, stood sombrely as Queen Elizabeth’s royal standard was lowered and the new Barbados declared.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley, the leader of Barbados’ republican movement, helped lead the ceremony.
Barbados severed its last remaining colonial bonds nearly 400 years after the first English ships arrived at the Caribbean island.
The birth of the republic comes 55 years to the day since Barbados declared independence.
Elizabeth II is still queen of 15 other realms including the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and Jamaica.
This is a step which republicans hope will spur discussion of similar proposals in other former British colonies that have Queen Elizabeth as their sovereign.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement on Monday that Britain and Barbados would remain friends and allies.
Compensation from Britain
While Britain casts slavery as a sin of the past, some Barbadians are calling for compensation from Britain. Activist David Denny celebrated the creation of the republic but said he opposes the visit by Prince Charles, noting the royal family for centuries benefited from the slave trade.
“Our movement would also like the royal family to pay a reparation,” Denny said in an interview in Bridgetown.
The last time the queen was removed as head of state was in 1992 when the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius proclaimed itself a republic.