The Queen has received some momentous news during her summer holiday, as Barbados has announced its intention to remove Her Majesty as its head of state by November 2021. The Caribbean island aims to become a republic by the time it celebrates Barbados' 55th anniversary of independence from Britain.
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A speech written by Prime Minister Mia Mottley was read out by Governor-General Dame Sandra Mason, who said: "The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind. Barbadians want a Barbadian head of state.
"This is the ultimate statement of confidence in who we are and what we are capable of achieving. Hence, Barbados will take the next logical step toward full sovereignty and become a republic by the time we celebrate our 55th anniversary of independence."
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Buckingham Palace has since responded, saying "this is a matter for the government and people of Barbados."
The remarks were made as part of the Throne Speech, which outlines the government's plans and programme ahead of parliament's new session.
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Barbados gained its independence from Britain in 1966, although the Queen remains its constitutional monarch. The country has previously made its desire to become independent known; in 2015, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said "we have to move from a monarchical system to a republican form of government in the very near future" and in 1998, a Barbados constitutional review commission recommended republican status.
The Queen visits Barbados in 1977 during her Silver Jubilee tour
The royal family have always held a strong connection to the Caribbean country and have visited various times on official tours. In December 2016, Prince Harry shone a spotlight on the importance of HIV testing as he visited an HIV drop-in centre in Bridgetown, accompanied by Barbadian singer Rihanna. The pair both took an aids test, which was filmed live.
Prince Charles and Camilla visited more recently in March 2019 as part of their Caribbean tour. The Queen has travelled to Barbados six times, including during her Silver Jubilee tour in 1977 with Prince Philip.
Rihanna and Prince Harry take HIV tests in Bridgetown
Her Majesty is currently enjoying the end of her summer break. This week, she and Prince Philip are relocating from Balmoral in Scotland to Sandringham in Norfolk where they will spend a couple of weeks in private. A palace spokesperson said the monarch then plans to return to Windsor Castle in October and to resume the use of Buckingham Palace for selected audiences and engagements.
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