THE Prince of Wales has branded slavery an “appalling atrocity that stains our history” as Barbados becomes a republic.
Charles made a landmark speech acknowledging Britain’s colonial past as the Royal Standard was finally lowered in the Caribbean island.
Prince Charles has given a landmark speech on slavery as Barbados became a republic at midnight[/caption]
The royal was watched by Rihanna, who was born on the island, as he spoke[/caption]
Exactly 55 years after the country gained its independence from Britain, he 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.”
The address was watched by Rihanna, who took her seat just three minutes before Charles began speaking.
The star, dressed in a stunning floor-length orange gown, slipped into a VIP marquee an hour after festivities began – missing the 12 chimes of the parliament tower bell at midnight signalling the beginning of the republic.
She was later conferred with the Order of National Hero of Barbados by the island’s prime minister Mia Mottley before shaking hands with Charles.
Black Lives Matter protesters had opposed the royal attending the midnight party, demanding the Royal Family apologise for British slavers and urging the Queen to pay reparations.
But the prince was warmly welcomed and spent two hours at the ceremony before finally heading away at 1.30am.
The monarch has written a note to the island’s first-ever president, Dame Sandra Mason.
Only invited guests were allowed to attend the celebration amid Covid restrictions, although the ceremony was screened on television.
Barbados has been known as ‘little England’ for decades, but constitutional changes were ushered in by Ms Mottley’s Labour Party, which three years ago won 29 of the island’s 30 seats.
It will remain a part of the Commonwealth of Nations.
The people of this island forged their path with extraordinary fortitude
Ms Mottley last year backed Prince Harry when he sparked controversy by claiming the Commonwealth should “right the wrongs of the past”.
Charles’ speech comes amid a tough week for the family.
He has dismissed bombshell claims he was the “royal racist” after allegations he questioned the future skin tone of Prince Harry and Meghan’s children were published in an explosive US book.
The allegations feature in Christopher Andersen’s book Brothers And Wives: Inside the Private Lives of William, Kate, Harry and Meghan.
According to the author, a source claimed the discussion took place on November 27, 2017 when Charles said to Camilla: “I wonder what the children will look like.”
She is said to have been “somewhat taken aback” and responded saying: “Well, absolutely gorgeous, I’m certain.”
ROYALS’ TOUGH WEEK
The source claims Charles then lowered his voice and asked: “I mean, what do you think their children’s complexion might be?”
The Prince’s aides blasted the claims as “fiction” and said they are “not worth further comment.”
Meanwhile, the second episode of controversial BBC doc The Princes and The Press has aired.
The Royal Family’s lawyers were watching the programme last night after a statement from the three households dismissed “unfounded” claims made in episode one.
During the show, Meghan’s lawyer denied the duchess has ever bullied her staff – but insisted: “She wouldn’t want to negate anyone’s personal experiences.”
Jenny Afia of Schillings addressed claims Meg inflicted “emotional cruelty” on employees and “drove them out”.
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Speaking to host Amol Rajan, she claimed there were “massive inaccuracies” in the story.
She said: “Massive, massive inaccuracies in that story
“The overall allegation was that the Duchess of Sussex was guilty of bullying. Absolutely not.”
The star then received the National Hero Award from President Sandra Mason[/caption]
She looked radiant in an orange gown as she took her seat[/caption]
She later shook hands with the prince, who was warmly welcomed by dignitaries[/caption]