On Tuesday morning, the Caribbean island of Barbados officially became a republic, leaving Queen Elizabeth II and almost 400 years of British rule in the past. Officials gathered in the country’s capital of Bridgetown for the swearing in of their first-ever president, Sandra Mason, a former governor-general and appointee of the Queen. Also in attendance was Prince Charles as well as Barbadian native Rihanna.
During the ceremony, Charles received the Order of Freedom of Barbados, announcing that his mother sends the country her “warmest good wishes” while accepting the honor. “Tonight you write the next chapter of your nation’s story,” he said, according to the New York Times. “You are the guardians of your heritage.” Rihanna, meanwhile, was declared a national hero at the event. The country’s Prime Minister, Mia Mottley, presented the singer with the honor, thanking Rihanna for her “imagination of the world” and “her extraordinary commitment to the land of her birth.” Mottley ended her speech, quoting one of Rihanna’s most popular songs and telling the pop star, “May you continue to shine like a diamond.”
Rihanna, born Robyn Rihanna Fenty in the parish of Saint Michael, Barbados, was named an ambassador by the country in 2018. Throughout the ceremony on Tuesday, the singer stood alongside Mason, Mottley, and Prince Charles, standing out in an orange silk Bottega Veneta dress with an asymmetric halter neck. Rihanna wore her hair in braids and stayed safe with a black mask.