Queen Elizabeth is wishing Barbados her best regards as the country becomes the world’s newest republic.
The Queen, 95, was removed as head of state when the island nation severed ties with her in an official ceremony on Monday. Barbados President Sandra Mason, who previously served as governor-general, has been appointed as the new head of state. The monarch congratulated Mason and Barbados on their new status in a letter sent to Mason.
“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 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,” she continued. “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.”
The Queen ended her note with “warmest wishes,” 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,” and signed the letter, “Elizabeth R.”
Barbados gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1966. According to The New York Times, the nation announced in September that Queen Elizabeth would be removed as head of state, and the country ended nearly 400 years of British rule on Monday.
While the Queen did not attend the ceremony on Monday, Prince Charles flew into Barbados to represent the British monarch. It was the first time a senior member of the royal family had attended a handover ceremony.
During his speech, Charles highlighted Britain’s role in the slave trade as well as the country’s role in trafficking people from Africa, Barbados, and the Caribbean, telling attendees, “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 added, “Emancipation, self-government, and independence were your way-points. Freedom, justice, and self-determination have been your guides. 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.”