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London (CNN)Barbados will remove Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and become a republic by next year, its government has announced, making it the first country to drop the monarch in nearly three decades.

The Caribbean nation's Governor-General, Sandra Mason, said in a speech on Tuesday that "the time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind.
"She said the country will become a republic as early as November of next year, when it celebrates its 55th anniversary of independence from the British empire.
    The Queen is head of state of the United Kingdom and 15 other countries that were formerly under British rule -- including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Jamaica and several other island nations in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean.Prince Harry and Meghan say countries including the UK must right the wrongs of colonialismBut many Barbadians have long agitated to remove her status -- and with it, the lingering symbolic presence of imperialism over its governance -- and multiple leaders this century have proposed that the country become a republic. Read More"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," Mason said, reading a speech written by the nation's Prime Minister, Mia Mottley, at the state opening of Parliament on Tuesday. "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 royal source told CNN that the decision is a matter for the government and people of Barbados.Several countries dropped the Queen as head of state in the years after they gained independence, with Mauritius the last to do so, in 1992. But Barbados' move to fast-track a process that had previously been mooted for a public vote could signal a new wave of nations considering a push toward full self-governance, particularly as the historic role of the British empire comes under renewed scrutiny. The Queen receives Governor-General of Barbados Sandra Mason during a private audience at Buckingham Palace in 2018.Mason cites a warning by Barbados' first Prime Minister, Errol Walton Barrow, against "loitering on colonial premises." "That warning is as relevant today as it was in 1966," she said. "Having attained Independence over half a century ago, our country can be in no doubt about its capacity for self-governance."
      Barbados remains a member of the Commonwealth, a union of 54 countries that were mostly former British territories.Earlier this year, Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex encouraged the UK to reckon with its colonial past, highlighting the "wrongs" of its historic involvement in the countries that now make up that bloc.

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      Queen Elizabeths real estate takes $716M hit amid COVID-19

      Even the queen is taking a financial hit from the coronavirus pandemic.

      Part of Queen Elizabeth’s UK real estate portfolio lost $716 million in value last fiscal year as the COVID-19 crisis exacerbated existing struggles for its tenants.

      The Crown Estate — which oversees the monarch’s vast holdings in London and other parts of the country — took the loss in its regional property segment, which includes shopping centers and business parks around the country.

      The drop stemmed from “the challenging operational markets faced by our retail customers during the year, an issue which has been accelerated by COVID-19,” the estate said in its annual report released Friday.

      The total value of the estate’s portfolio fell by 1.2 percent to 13.4 billion British pounds, or roughly $17.4 billion, according to the report.

      The report only covers the estate’s fiscal year that ended March 31, less than two weeks after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered pubs and other businesses to close in an effort to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

      But the estate said the economic disruption and resulting drop in rental receipts have led it to stagger its payments to the UK treasury. It expects its regional and central London portfolios to take a significant hit going forward “as a result of COVID-19 as well as disruption from the increase in online retail,” the report says.

      Despite the financial challenges, the estate said it turned a roughly $447 million net revenue profit in the fiscal year, up 0.4 percent from the prior year.

      “Many of our real estate markets were already facing long term structural challenges, which have now been accelerated as a result of COVID-19,” Crown Estate chief executive Dan Labbad said in a statement. “Against this backdrop, and the ongoing economic uncertainty, we have delivered a result for the year which reflects the underlying strength of our portfolio and the active approach of our team.”

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