Barbados Cut Ties With Queen Elizabeth II & Declared Rihanna A National Hero

"May you continue to shine like a diamond," Barbados' PM said.

Senior Global Editor
Barbados Cut Ties With Queen Elizabeth II & Declared Rihanna A National Hero

Barbados stopped pledging its allegiance to Queen Elizabeth and honoured one of its homegrown talents in an overnight ceremony on Monday.

The island nation officially cut ties with Queen Elizabeth II, ending nearly 400 years of British rule that includes a long history of colonialism and slavery. It also named Rihanna a national hero at a grand ceremony with the singer and Prince Charles in attendance.

The ceremony was held to mark Barbados becoming a republic, and it ended with the swearing-in of the country's first-ever president, The Guardian reports.

It was an hours-long celebration with lots of singing, dancing, speeches and honoured Rihanna, the 11th person to receive the national hero award.

"May you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honour to your nation by your words, by your actions," Prime Minister Mia Mottley told Rihanna at the ceremony, which was streamed online.

Prince Charles represented his mother at the ceremony.

The Prince of Wales described the moment as a "new beginning," and acknowledged the "appalling atrocity of slavery," which, he said, "forever stains our history."

Barbados' new president, Dame Sandra Mason, presented the prince with the country's Order of Freedom.

Barbados announced it would move forward with plans to become a republic last year.

The Queen will no longer be its head of state, although the country will remain a part of the Commonwealth.

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