Bridgetown, Barbados: Barbados formally declared itself the world´s newest republic at the stroke of midnight, as the Caribbean island nation removed Queen Elizabeth II as head of state in a solemn ceremony Tuesday attended by her son Prince Charles.
Symbolizing the historic handover, the Royal Standard flag representing the queen was lowered during a ceremony inaugurating the current governor-general, Dame Sandra Mason, as the first president of Barbados.
"I, Sandra Prunella Mason, do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Barbados according to law, so help me God," the new president said in taking the oath of office.
The new era for the nation of 285,000 ends Britain´s centuries of influence, including more than 200 years of slavery until 1834.
A long-running pandemic curfew was suspended to allow Barbadians to enjoy the festivities, including projections at various points across the country and large fireworks displays timed to mark the historic transition.
The "Pride of Nationhood" ceremony itself was closed to the wider public but Barbados´ most famous citizen, the singer Rihanna, took place alongside top officials for the event, complete with military parades, a mounted guard of honor and gun salutes.
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