Prince Charles acknowledges 'appalling' history of slavery as Barbados becomes a republic

Prince Charles was invited to speak at the transition ceremony formalising the Caribbean island's decision to remove the Queen as their head of state.

Prince Charles acknowledges 'appalling' history of slavery as Barbados becomes a republic

Image: Prince Charles speaking at the ceremony to mark Barbados becoming a republic

The Prince of Wales has formally acknowledged “the appalling atrocity of slavery” in the Caribbean, saying “it forever stains our history” at an event to mark Barbados becoming a republic.

Prince Charles was invited to speak at the transition ceremony formalising the Caribbean island’s decision to remove the Queen as their head of state.

Speaking in front of a crowd in National Heroes Square in Bridgetown, once known as Trafalgar Square, he said: “From the darkest days of our past, and the appalling atrocity of slavery, which forever stains our histories, 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.”

Prince Charles acknowledges 'appalling' history of slavery as Barbados becomes a republic

Image: Performers provide entertainment as part of the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony in Bridgetown

The heir to the throne delivered his address just after midnight as Barbados began a new chapter in its history.

He described how he felt “deeply touched” to be invited to the event, held on the nation’s 55th anniversary of independence from Britain, and spoke of his great personal respect for the people of Barbados.

The prince, who described how “the creation of this republic offers a new beginning”, watched as the Queen’s standard was lowered for the final time.

He added: “Tonight you write the next chapter of your nation’s story, adding to the treasury of past achievement, collective enterprise and personal courage which already fill its pages.

“The creation of this Republic offers a new beginning, but it also marks a point on a continuum – a milestone on the long road you have not only travelled, but which you have built.”

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