When Harry met Rihanna: singer marks Barbados independence anniversary

Prince Harry has met one of Barbados' most celebrated daughters - superstar Rihanna - as he read a message of support from the Queen to mark the 50th anniversary of the nation's independence.

The singer was a surprise guest - for Harry at least - at the annual Toast The Nation event celebrating national achievements.

Prince Harry
Prince Harry (Chris Jackson PA Wire/PA Images)

The Queen's grandson read a message from the monarch where she paid tribute to Barbados and its people who, since achieving independence from the UK on November 30 1966, "have continued to flourish and grow into a strong and confident nation".

Harry and the celebrity, famed for hits such as S&M and Umbrella, shook hands briefly inside a marquee shortly after the prince had arrived at the event in the capital Bridgetown.

She was dressed in a long dress - a demure fashion choice compared to her pop videos which feature risque outfits - while the prince, who is on a 15-day tour of the Caribbean, looked smart in a suit, shirt and tie.

The prince read the Queen's message to the guests: "Prince Philip and I send our warmest wishes to the Government and the people of Barbados on the occasion of your 50th Anniversary of Independence.

"Since you became an independent country in 1966, you have continued to flourish and grow into a strong and confident nation.

"The extraordinary talents of your people, from the cricket field to the music industry have been admired and recognised throughout the world. Barbados remains a favoured holiday destination for British people, not only for the incredible natural beauty of your country but because you have a great warmth and generosity of spirit.

"Over the years I have visited Barbados five times and you have kindly welcomed many other members of my family.
"Our countries have a shared history, shared values and an affection which continues to bind us in friendship. On this day of celebration, I send my congratulations to you on your Golden Jubilee of Independence."

Among the guests was cricketing legend Sir Garfield Sobers - the first batsman to his six sixes in an over.

Rihanna, who was born in parish of Saint Michael and raised in Bridgetown, sat at the same table as Guyana's president David Granger, just across from the prince's table.

Rihanna (Thibault Camus AP/PA Images)

A senior royal aide revealed Harry had been told 20 minutes before he arrived Rihanna would be there.

Toast The Nation, an annual Independence Day lunch, was held at the headquarters of the Barbados Defence Force at St Ann's Fort in the capital.

Before asking guests to raise a glass to Barbados, prime minister Freundel Stuart feted Rihanna and the other star guest Sir Garfield, in a speech.

From a rostrum outside, Stuart told guests seated in the marquee, he was pleased Harry was there representing the Queen.

He said: "Especially welcome too is the Barbadian superstar Rihanna, whose presence here this evening lends a perfect enhancement to the occasion. We are very pleased to have her here."

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