Barbados has a new queen. Sort of.
On Monday, the Caribbean nation formally cut political and ceremonial ties with the United Kingdom to become the world’s newest republic, removing Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. At the same Pride of Nationhood ceremony in Bridgetown, Barbados, Prime Minister Mia Mottley also declared billionaire singer-actress-entrepreneur Rihanna a National Hero.
“May you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honor to your nation by your works, by your actions,” Mottley told Rihanna, in a nod to the singer’s 2012 global hit single “Diamonds.”
Rihanna, real name Robyn Rihanna Fenty, was born in Saint Michael and brought up in the capital Bridgetown before she moved to U.S. to pursue a music career, going on to become one of the biggest-selling acts of all time. She becomes only the second woman to be declared a national hero of Barbados, and the 11th person in total. The honor allows Rihanna to use the title of Right Honorable in front of her name.
Formerly part of the British Empire, Barbados declared independence in 1966, but Queen Elizabeth II continued in her role as head of state. Despite its status as a republic, Barbados will remain in the Commonwealth organization of nations.