Prince Charles to visit Barbados for handover event that will remove Queen as head of state

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Royal duty: the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall in Barbados in 2019 (Getty Images)
Royal duty: the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall in Barbados in 2019 (Getty Images)

The Prince of Wales is to fly to Barbados for the handover ceremony that removes the Queen as head of state as the country becomes a republic.

Clarence House today confirmed that Charles will be at the transition later this month. He will be “guest of honour” at celebration events, with the prime minister of Barbados Mia Mottley extending the invitation to him as the future head of the Commonwealth.

Dame Sandra Mason, 72, is set to be sworn in as president of Barbados on November 30 — the 55th anniversary of the country gaining independence from Britain in 1966.

The Barbados government announced the plan to move to republic status in September last year. It said then that the time had come to “fully leave our colonial past behind”, although the nation will remain a member of the Commonwealth.

When the plan was announced, Dame Sandra said: “Barbadians want a Barbadian head of state. This is the ultimate statement of confidence in who we are and what we are capable of achieving.”

With a population of about 285,000, Barbados is one of the most populated and wealthy Caribbean islands.

Prince Charles with the island nation’s prime minister Mia Mottley at COP26 this week (AP)
Prince Charles with the island nation’s prime minister Mia Mottley at COP26 this week (AP)

The change of status to a republic had been recommended by a constitutional review in 1998.

Guyana was the first former British colony in the Caribbean to become a republic, in 1970, less than four years after gaining independence.

Trinidad and Tobago followed suit in 1976 and Dominica in 1978. All three have stayed in the Commonwealth.

Jamaica has suggested that it might also consider the change.

Buckingham Palace said that the decision by Barbados was a matter for its government and people.

Charles, as heir to the throne, has attended previous independence handover ceremonies as the Queen’s representative. He was filmed getting soaked in a downpour on July 1, 1997 when Hong Kong reverted to Chinese rule.

He was also present at the independence ceremony for Zimbabwe in 1980 when the Union Flag was lowered and the new five-coloured national flag was raised.

Charles is also expected to carry out engagements in Barbados during his visit.

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