Barbados officially broke up with the Queen yesterday and became the world’s newest republic. It was an amicable split as Prince Charles was there for the ceremony and was presented the Order of Freedom award by Dame Sandra Mason, now Barbados’s first president. A gracious way to end a relationship that began with oppression…which Prince Charles acknowledged in his remarks:
"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," said Prince Charles, who thanked Barbadian officials for inviting him and said he has greatly admired what they've achieved. "Freedom, justice, and self determination have been your guides."
That’s the reality of royal history. They come from OG coloniser bloodlines. And as more and more people interrogate the past, and the devastating consequences of white supremacy and colonisation, that part of royal identity will continue to come up…just as Charles prepares to become king, and monarchical relevance is always a concern.
Barbados becoming a republic has taken two decades and “culminated with the island's Parliament electing its first ever president last month in a two-thirds majority vote”. Barbados’s head of state is now a Bajan woman who will work alongside Prime Minister Mia Mottley to lead the nation. As Dame Sandra said yesterday:
"As cautioned by our first prime minister ... we ought no longer to be found loitering on colonial premises. We must seek to redefine our definition of self, of state, and the Barbados brand, in a more complex, fractured and turbulent world. ... Our country and people must dream big dreams and fight to realize them."
Rihanna was also honoured during the ceremony, named a National Hero, which means she’s now The Right Honourable Robyn Rihanna Fenty. Prime Minister Mottley presented the award:
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Rihanna is the eleventh person to receive this recognition and only the second woman. And there’s no question why she’s there. On a global scale, no one else has represented Barbados like Rihanna. She is indeed the diamond of her country, and I imagine this distinction means more to her than any of the others she’s already collected through her career.