Prince Harry visits Barbados on behalf of The Queen

Published 01 December 2016

Prince Harry has visited Barbados to join celebrations marking the country's 50th Anniversary of Independence.

Prince Harry's has continued his visit to the Caribbean, spending three days in Barbados to mark the 50th anniversary celebrations of independence. This is an important moment in the country's history, and one that thousands of Barbadians have celebrated together.

Prince Harry arrived at the Bridgetown Port, which sits on the Southwestern part of the island and is the gateway to the capital. His Royal Highness was greeted by a military parade, before making the short journey to Government House for a meeting with the Governor General, His Excellency Sir Elliott Belgrave, and to present a number of Duke of Edinburgh Award candidates with their Gold Award.

Prince Harry then called on the Prime Minister Mr Freundel Stuart at his official residence Ilaro Court.

That afternoon Prince Harry visited the Nightengale Children's Home, an organisation offering accommodation, support and care to children from birth up until the age of 18, including young children with learning disabilities and health problems.

The next day Prince Harry visited The Queen Elizabeth hospital where he met staff, doctors and young patients.

Following the visit, Prince Harry joined guests at the Officers' Mess at St Ann's Fort, where the Prime Minister raised a 'Toast to the Nation'.

His Royal Highness met singer Rihanna, who is originally from Barbados and read out a message on behalf of The Queen. 

Prince Harry then attended the reveal of the 50th Anniversary of Independence National Monument. This took place at the Garrison Savannah, the very site where independence was born at midnight on 30 November 1966.

A special ceremony featuring a variety of performers commemorates this important moment in Barbados' history, culminating in the reveal of a monument designed by 24 year old art student Taisha Carrington.

The design focuses around the Barbadian trident emblem, which forms the final part of the monument, and until now had been touring the length and breadth of Barbadost.

That evening saw see one of the most exciting events of the tour: The Golden Anniversary Spectacular Mega Concert.

Held at The Kensington Oval stadium, with tens of thousands joining the party to celebrate the past five decades of Barbadian history.

Live performances featuring the best of Barbadian talent, from singers and dancers, to orchestras, icons and celebrated entertainers, one of whom was Rihanna – all performed at the event.

Prince Harry delivered a short speech before the concert kicked off.

Prince Harry also read out a speech in which he said he was delighted to represent The Queen on the official visit and also to congratulate The Queen's Young Leaders Award winners of 2017 who were announced on the very same day.

I am honoured to be representing my grandmother The Queen as we celebrate the historic milestone of 50 years of independence of this nation. Her Majesty visited your beautiful country on the eve of independence in early 1966. The people of Barbados have held a special place in her heart ever since.

He also met the Barbados winner Jamella Sealy who is working to raise awareness about the importance of protecting the environment in Barbados and is a member of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network.

Prince Harry's final day in Barbados coincided with World AIDS day, a topic of great importance to His Royal Highness.

His Royal Highness attended the "Man Aware" event, at Heroes Square in the centre of Bridgetown, with Rihanna to encourage men to get tested and talk about the issue.

Whilst at the event Prince Harry and Rihanna both took an HIV test to highlight how easy it is to get tested.

The Barbados National HIV/AIDS programme has highlighted men as being at significantly high risk - they are more likely to be diagnosed late with HIV compared to women and are also more likely to die from AIDS-related illnesses.

To raise awareness, the National HIV/AIDS Commission in Barbados is trying to remove the stigma associated with the illness and encourage men to get tested and talk more openly about the disease.

His Royal Highness then travelled to the Barbadian countryside to spend time with the team at the Nature Fun Ranch in St Andrew.

This special and impressive programme is run by Mr Corey Lane, himself a once-troubled teen who has devoted himself to helping young people with their personal development, by cultivating positive outlooks.

The ranch allows young people to speak freely with one another about important topics, including HIV/AIDS, providing them with a positive focus to guide their lives in the right direction, in a rural setting while tending to horses, working vegetable patches, or managing fish hatcheries.

That afternoon Prince Harry made his way to Paragon Base, the home of the Barbados Defence Force.

Here, His Royal Highness saw how the Eastern Caribbean countries work together at the Regional Security System (RSS), learning more about the Defence Force's response to combatting security threats and the drugs trade operating within the region.

Prince Harry also had the opportunity to informally meet a number of the Defence Force trainee soldiers, and see some of the base's facilities.

Finally, Prince Harry travelled to the Kensington Oval for the 50th Anniversary of Independence Military Parade. 

His Royal Highness inspected the Guard of Honour, before watching the Parade, which included some spectacular displays.

Prince Harry is honoured to be visiting the Caribbean in the year of The Queen's 90th birthday, and to continue to develop The Royal Family's strong bonds with the people of these important Commonwealth countries.

Find out more about Prince Harry's visit to the Caribbean here.