As Barbados announces plans to remove Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state by the end of next year, social media users are calling for Barbadian singer Rihanna to replace her on the throne.
On Wednesday, the Caribbean island’s government said that ‘the time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind,’ and that includes removing the Queen as head of state and becoming a republic by November 2021.
In response, dozens of social media users have taken to Twitter to proclaim that Rihanna — who was born in Saint Michael and raised in Bridgetown — should be named queen.
Royal: After it was announced that Barbados plans to remove Queen Elizabeth II as head of state, dozens of people took to Twitter to say Barbadian singer Rihanna should be queen
Moving on: On Wednesday, the Caribbean island’s government announced plans to becoming a republic by November 2021. The Queen is pictured in Barbados in 1977
‘I’m calling it now. Rihanna for queen of Barbados!’ one fan tweeted, sharing a GIF of the pop star placing a crown on her head.
‘Replace her with Rihanna, you cowards!’ another insisted, while someone else asked: ‘Can they replace her with Her Excellency Rihanna?’
‘All stand for the true Queen of Barbados, Rihanna,’ one fan commented.
Many agreed that when it comes to queens, Rihanna is the only one the nation needs.
‘Anyway. Barbados already has a Queen and her name is @rihanna,’ noted Simon Naitram, a lecturer at the University of the West Indies at Cave Hill, which is located on the island.
Future head of state? Rihanna fans thought the singer would the perfect replacement for Queen Elizabeth
Fans: While Rihanna isn’t technically queen, she is undisputedly the island’s most famous resident, and she has been honored as such
‘Why would Barbados want the queen as the head of state when they could have Rihanna?’ someone else asked.
Rihanna, whose real name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty, was a teenager living in Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados, when she was discovered by an American record producer and launched to international fame.
And while Rihanna isn’t technically queen, she is undisputedly the island’s most famous resident, and she has been honored as such.
In 2018, the singer was named ‘Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiaryin’ for Barbados, a role that involves promoting education, tourism, and investment.
In 2018, Rihanna was named ‘Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiaryin’ for her home country. She is pictured at the Kadooment Day parade in Barbados in 2019
Loved: Many agreed that when it comes to queens, Rihanna is the only one the nation needs
When she accepted the new title, Rihanna said in a statement that she ‘couldn’t be more proud to take on such a prestigious title’ in her home country.
‘Every Barbadian is going to have to play their role in this current effort, and I’m ready and excited to take on the responsibility,’ she added. ‘I look forward to working with Prime Minister Mottley and her team to re-imagine Barbados.’
The superstar was also honored by having the street she grew up on renamed Rihanna Drive in her honor in 2017.
On Wednesday, Barbados announced its intention to remove Queen Elizabeth as its head of state and become a republic by November 2021.
World colliding: Rihanna was in Barbados with Prince Harry in 2019
Looking The Queen is pictured with Governor-General of Barbados Dame Sandra Mason at Windsor Castle in 2018
A speech written by Prime Minister Mia Mottley and read by Governor-General Dame Sandra Mason said: ‘The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind. Barbadians want a Barbadian Head of State.
‘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.’
Asked to comment on the Commonwealth country’s plans a palace spokesman said: ‘This is a matter for the government and people of Barbados.’
The Prime Minister’s Office also agreed that it was a ‘decision for Barbados and the government there,’ but added that Britain will continue to ‘enjoy a partnership’ with the Caribbean island nation as members of the Commonwealth.
Visits: Queen Elizabeth ll is pictured smiling with a young girl in Barbados on November 1, 1977 (left) and on a walkabout during a visit to Bridgetown (right)
Memories: The Queen and Prince Philip are pictured driving through Barbados while waving to the crowds in February 1966
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.’
The country gained its independence from Britain in 1966, though the Queen remains its constitutional monarch.
In 1998, a Barbados constitutional review commission recommended republican status, and in 2015 Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said, ‘We have to move from a monarchical system to a republican form of government in the very near future.’
Most Caribbean countries have kept formal links with the monarchy after achieving independence.
Barbados would join Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, and Guyana if it proceeds with its plan to become a republic.
Barbados: The country’s colonial history
The Sugar Revolution, the introduction of sugar cane from Dutch Brazil, in the 1640s was highly lucrative but came at great social cost
Barbados was one of the oldest English settlements in the West Indies, being surpassed only by Saint Kitts.
The countries’ historical ties date back to the 17th century and involve settlement, post-colonialism and modern bilateral relations.
Since Barbados gained its independence in 1966, the nations have continued to share ties through the Commonwealth, with the Queen as Monarch.
The Barbadian Parliament is the third oldest in the entire Commonwealth and the island continues to practice the Westminster style of government.
Many of the historic Anglican churches and plantation houses across the island show the influence of English architecture.
In 1627, 80 Englishmen aboard the William and John landed on the Caribbean island and founded Jamestown (close to today’s Holetown), in the name of King James I.
The early settlers struggled to develop a profitable export crop and faced difficulties in maintaining supplies from Europe.
However, the Sugar Revolution, the introduction of sugar cane from Dutch Brazil, in the 1640s was highly lucrative and over the next decade more than two thirds of English emigres to the Americas went to Barbados.
But while this shift to sugar yielded huge profits, it came at a great social cost. Thousands of West African slaves were shipped across the Atlantic to work the plantations and workers suffered from low wages and minimal social services.
It is estimated that between 1627 to 1807, some 387,000 Africans were shipped to the island against their will and the country shifted from having a majority white population to a majority black population.
On 28th August 1833, the British Government passed the Slavery Abolition Act, and slaves across the British empire were granted emancipation.
Barbados remained a British colony until internal autonomy was granted in 1961.
The country became fully independent on November 30, 1966, during a time when the country’s economy was expanding and diversifying.
Since then, the Barbadian Parliament has remained a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, which is modeled on the British Westminster system of government.
In 2008, British exports to Barbados stood at £38 million, making it Britain’s fourth-largest export market in the region.
In recent years a growing number of British nationals have been relocating to Barbados to live, with polls showing that British nationals make up 75–85 per cent of the Barbados second home market.