Queen responds after Barbados removes her as head of state

The Queen has said the decision to remove her as head of state in Barbados is one to be made by the country's people and government.

On Tuesday, Barbados announced it intended to "fully leave our colonial past behind" and said "Barbadians want a Barbadian head of state".

A speech written by Prime Minister Mia Mottley and read by governor-general Dame Sandra Mason said the country would aim to make the move ahead of its 55th anniversary of independence, which is November 2021.

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When the Queen visited Barbados
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When the Queen visited Barbados
Queen Elizabeth II inspecting a guard of honour mounted by the Barbados Regiment on her arrival in Bridgetown, Barbados, during her Silver Jubilee tour of the Caribbean.
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh wave as Concorde flies by the Royal Yacht Britannia as the royal couple neared Barbados.
The Queen reading newspapers during her flight home from Bridgetown, Barbados, in the supersonic Concorde after her Silver Jubilee tour of Canada and the West Indies.
Queen Elizabeth II taking a close look at the crowded banks of instruments when she paid a visit to the flight deck of Concorde during her flight home from Bridgetown, Barbados, in the supersonic jetliner after her Silver Jubilee tour of the West Indies.
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh during the State Opening of Parliament in Bridgetown, Barbados, during her Silver Jubilee tour of the Caribbean.
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh on the top of the steps as they board a BOAC Super VC 10 liner at London Airport to fly to Barbados at the start of a Caribbean tour. The journey had been delayed for 25 minutes while security men searched the aircraft for a bomb following an anonymous telephone call.
Queen Elizabeth II visiting the flight deck during her flight home from Bridgetown, Barbados, in the supersonic Concorde after her Silver Jubilee tour of Canada and the West Indies.
Queen Elizabeth II on a walkabout in Bridgetown, Barbados, during her Silver Jubilee tour of the Caribbean.
The Duke of Edinburgh talking with a sea cadet when he and Queen Elizabeth II went on a walkabout during a visit to Bridgetown, Barbados, during her Silver Jubilee tour of the Caribbean.
Queen Elizabeth II on a walkabout during a visit to Bridgetown, Barbados, during her Silver Jubilee tour of the Caribbean.
BARBADOS - NOVEMBER 01: Queen Elizabeth ll smiles with a young girl in Barbados on November 01, 1977 in Barbados. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
BARBADOS - NOVEMBER 31: Queen Elizabeth ll and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh visit Barbados during the Silver Jubilee year in November 1977 in Bridgetown, Barbados. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
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Dame Sandra added: "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."

A statement from Buckingham Palace on Wednesday said: "This is a matter for the government and people of Barbados."

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 28:  Queen Elizabeth II receives Governor-General of Barbados Dame Sandra Mason during a private audience at Buckingham Palace on March 28, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The Prime Minister's office agreed it was a "decision for Barbados and the Government there", and a Number 10 spokesman said: "We obviously have a shared history and remain united with Barbados in terms of history, culture and language, and we will continue to have and enjoy a partnership with them as members of the Commonwealth."

Barbados gained independence in 1966, and in 2016, the Queen praised the island nation saying: "Since you became an independent country in 1966, you have continued to flourish and grow into a strong and confident nation.

BARBADOS - NOVEMBER 01:  Queen Elizabeth ll is greeted by the public during a walkabout in Barbados on November 01, 1977 in Barbados. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

"The extraordinary talents of your people, from the cricket field to the music industry have been admired and recognised throughout the world."

Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and Dominica have all made the same move of removing the Queen as head of state after independence.

They are still in the Commonwealth, a voluntary network of 54 nations which work for common ideals.

The Commonwealth's role and function has been raised in recent months following the Black Lives Matter movement across the UK and the US.

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, who remain president and vice president respectively of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust (QCT) despite not being working royals, have raised issues in recent weeks, as they forge their new path in California.

In July, on a call with representatives from the QCT, Harry said: "When you look across the Commonwealth, there is no way that we can move forward unless we acknowledge the past, and guess what, everybody benefits."

Meghan said: "We're going to have to be a little uncomfortable right now, because it's only in pushing through that discomfort that we get to the other side of this and find the place where a high tide raises all ships.

"Equality does not put anyone on the back foot, it puts us all on the same footing – which is a fundamental human right."

Barbados' decision could trigger other nations to make the same move. The issue has been raised on several occasions over the years by Jamaica, but the country's constitution makes it difficult.

Queen Elizabeth II on a walkabout in Bridgetown, Barbados, during her Silver Jubilee tour of the Caribbean.   (Photo by Ron Bell/PA Images via Getty Images)

According to UCL: "The difficulty lies in the Jamaican constitution, which has very high thresholds for constitutional change: two thirds majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate, and any change to the monarchy must also be submitted to referendum."

Australians have also debated the same issue, but in a referendum in 1999, the majority of people voted to keep the Queen as their head of state.

Nations which have the Queen as head of state have a Governor-General who represents the Queen in that country.

- This article first appeared on Yahoo

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