Prince Charles Denounces ‘Appalling Atrocity’ of Slavery as Barbados Becomes a Republic

Dec 1, 2021: Prince Charles condemned the “atrocities of slavery” and the serious legacy of Britain’s slave trade, as Barbados removed Queen Elizabeth II as head of state and swore in its first president.

In a speech at Barbados’ transition ceremony on Monday evening, the prince, 73, referenced the darkest period of Britain’s colonial past, which saw the trafficking of people from Africa to Barbados and the Caribbean.

Speaking on the occasion, Prince Charles said, “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,”

“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,” he added.

Charles’s attendance at the ceremony is the first time that a senior member of the royal family has attended the handover ceremony of a state to a republic. Barbados will remain a Commonwealth of Nations that is loosely connected to Britain and will be headed by the Queen.

The Queen, on the other hand said the island nation would “always have a place” in her heart.

“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, 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,” she concluded.

She sent Dame Sandra Mason, the new president who became head of state, a message congratulating Barbadians on “this significant occasion.”

“Having obtained independence over half a century ago, our country can be in no doubt about its capacity for self-governance. The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind,” Mason said in a speech at the opening of parliament in September 2020. “Barbadians want a Barbadian head of state. This is the ultimate statement of confidence of who we are and what we are capable of achieving.”

The handover ceremony was an occasion of national pride and Rihanna was one of the prominent guests. She was named the National Hero of Barbados.

Barbados, a former British colony with a population of about 300,000, announced plans to become a republic last year. Its independence from Britain dates to 1966.

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