Barbados has become a republic, 55 years after gaining independence from the UK.
In a message to the people of the Caribbean island, the Queen sent her “good wishes for your happiness, peace and prosperity in the future” and emphasised the importance of the “continuation of the friendship” with the UK as she ceased to be their monarch.
At midnight local time the country became a republic, ending almost 400 years of the British royal family being head of state to the island known by some as “Little England”.
Writing to new President, Dame Sandra Mason, the Queen said: “On this significant occasion and your assumption of office as the first President of Barbados, I extend my congratulations to you and all Barbadians.”
Prince Charles attended the transition ceremony at National Heroes Square in Bridgetown, where just after midnight the Queen’s standard was lowered for the final time and the President was installed as the new head of state.