QUEEN ELIZABETH II has sent her “good wishes” to Barbados as the Caribbean country severs ties with the Crown to become a republic.

Queen Elizabeth II, 95, marked Barbados’ “momentous day” after the nation removed the British monarch as its head of state. The decision to become a republic comes over a decade after Bridgetown first considered holding a referendum on whether or not Barbados should stay a constitutional monarchy.

However, the Barbadian government decided in 2020 to push ahead with the changes.

In a message sent to Barbados’ first president Dame Sandra Mason, 72, the Queen said: “On this significant occasion and your assumption of office as the first president of Barbados, I extend my congratulations to you and all Barbadians.

“I first visited your beautiful country on the eve of independence in early 1966, and I am very pleased that my son is with you today.

“Since then, the people of Barbados have held a special place in my heart; it is a country rightly proud of its vibrant culture, its sporting prowess, and its natural beauty, that attracts visitors from all over the world, including many people from the United Kingdom.

She added: “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.

“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.

“Elizabeth R.”

The constitutional transition was represented by a ceremony attended by leading figures from the Caribbean country.

Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley, 56, and Saint Michael-born singer Rihanna, 33, were among the stars in attendance.

Prince Charles, 73, joined others at the inauguration ceremony.

The Prince of Wales delivered a speech to those in attendance, which also marked the 55th anniversary of Barbados’ independence from Britain.

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