KEY POINTS

  • Barbados removed Queen Elizabeth as head of state Monday
  • The country is now a republic with a newly appointed president
  • The British monarch sent a letter to the new Barbados head of state

Queen Elizabeth has spoken out after being removed as head of state of Barbados. In a letter sent to new Barbados President Sandra Mason, the British monarch congratulated her and the citizens of Barbados on its new status as a Republic.

Queen Elizabeth was dropped as head of state of the island nation in an official ceremony Monday. During the ceremony, Mason, who previously served as governor-general, was appointed as the first president of the state.

“On this significant occasion and your assumption of office as the first president of Barbados, I extend my congratulations to you and all Barbadians,” Queen Elizabeth 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.”

“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,” she continued.

Queen Elizabeth ended her letter with “warmest good wishes” for Mason and the world’s newest republic, 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.”

Before announcing in September that they would remove Queen Elizabeth as head of state, Barbados first gained independence from Britain in 1966. On Monday, the country officially ended nearly 400 years of British rule over their territory.

Prince Charles officially represented Queen Elizabeth during the Monday ceremony. His appearance marked the first time a senior member of the British monarchy has attended a handover ceremony.

In his speech during the ceremony, the 73-year-old praised Barbados for being able to forge its own path despite its difficult past. “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,” he said.

“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,” the Prince of Wales added.

In becoming a republic, tiny Barbados, with a population of just under 300,000, could start a domino effect in Queen Elizabeth's 14 remaining Commonwealth realms outside Britain In becoming a republic, tiny Barbados, with a population of just under 300,000, could start a domino effect in Queen Elizabeth's 14 remaining Commonwealth realms outside Britain Photo: POOL via AFP / ANDY BUCHANAN