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The Prince of Wales will reaffirm the “myriad connections between the people of our countries” as he flies to Barbados for a ceremony to remove the Queen as head of state and transition to a republic.

Prince Charles, who said he believes it is “important” for him to attend the ceremony, arrived in Barbados late on Sunday, following an invitation from Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley.

The heir to the throne will deliver his address just after midnight as Barbados begins a new chapter in its history on 30 November – the 55th anniversary of independence from Britain.

Prince Charles will say: “As your constitutional status changes, it was important to me that I should join you to reaffirm those things which do not change.

The Prince of Wales during a visit to Homerton College at the University of Cambridge, to discuss access to education
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Charles will reflect on his own personal connection with the country in his speech. File pic

“For example, the close and trusted partnership between Barbados and the United Kingdom as vital members of the Commonwealth; our common determination to defend the values we both cherish and to pursue the goals we share; and the myriad connections between the people of our countries – through which flow admiration and affection, co-operation and opportunity – strengthening and enriching us all.”

It’s understood Prince Charles will reflect on his own personal connection with the country, which he first visited 50 years ago, in his speech.

Barbados’s decision to remove the Queen as head of state will be watched closely by other members of the Commonwealth, especially in the Caribbean region.

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Last month, the island elected its first-ever president to replace the Queen.

Sandra Mason, the current governor general or Queen’s representative, will be sworn in as president just before Prince Charles makes his speech.

Britain's Charles, Prince of Wales, greets Barbados' Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley
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The prince greets Ms Mottley at COP26

On announcing the move to become a republic last year, Ms Mason said in a speech: “Having attained Independence over half a century ago, our country can be in no doubt about its capacity for self-governance.

“The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind.”

Prince Charles will be awarded the prestigious Order of Freedom Independence award at the transition ceremony later.

The honour is given to those who have given extraordinary service to the country, the Caribbean diaspora or to humanity at large.

But David Denny, from the Caribbean movement for Peace and Integration, has described the Prince’s visit as “an insult”, and is calling for reparations to make amends for the slave trade.

This undated photo courtesy of the Barbados Tourism Authority shows Harrismith Beach, Barbados. Sun, surf and sand are the main draws on this tropical Caribbean island. (AP Photo/Barbados Tourism Authority) NO SALES
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A former colony of the British Empire, Barbados gained independence in 1966. PIC: AP

Speaking to Sky News, he said: “We called the protests so that Barbadian people could express their solidarity together and demand reparations from the Royal Family, Richard Drax and all of the companies that would have benefitted from slavery.”

He added: “Republic means a lot for the people of Barbados. That’s why I say to you that what is happening on the 30th is just the building of the Republic, where we will have ceremonial changes.

“But the idea of a Republic would be to create a greater level of people’s participation in the decision-making in Barbados, create the conditions for economic and political democracy in Barbados, and creating the conditions for self-governance in Barbados.”

On announcing the trip Clarence House said Prime Minister Mottley invited Prince Charles, as the future head of the Commonwealth, to be a guest of honour at the events celebrating the birth of the new republic.

Britain's Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall attend a church service at St. Michael's Cathedral in Bridgetown, Barbados March 24, 2019
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Charles is expected to speak about his long-standing relationship with the country

Barbados, a former colony of the British Empire, gained independence in 1966. But since then it has remained a Commonwealth realm, retaining the Queen as monarch.

It is following other Caribbean nations who have also dispensed with the Queen as their head of state, with Guyana becoming a republic in 1970, Trinidad and Tobago following in 1976 and Dominica two years later.

In recent years Jamaica has also flagged it wants an elected head of state, with Prime Minister Andrew Holness saying it is a priority of his government, but has yet to achieve it.

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Group try to steal Banksy mural from wall in Ukrainian town

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Group try to steal Banksy mural from wall in Ukrainian town

A group of people tried to steal a Banksy mural from a battle-scarred wall in Ukraine, the governor of the region has said.

They managed to slice off a section of board and plaster bearing the image of a woman in a gas mask and dressing gown holding a fire extinguisher.

But they were spotted at the scene in the city of Hostomel, near Kyiv, and the mural was retrieved, Oleksiy Kuleba said in a statement.

He added that the image was still intact and the police were protecting it.

“These images are, after all, symbols of our struggle against the enemy… we’ll do everything to preserve these works of street art as a symbol of our victory,” he said.

Police shared images of the yellow wall in Hostomel, with had a large patch cut all the way back to the brickwork.

They said a number of people were arrested at the scene.

A group tried to take the mural

Banksy confirmed he had painted the mural and six others last month in places which had suffered particularly heavy fighting after Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.

One shows a female gymnast balancing on a damaged building, while another depicts a man resembling Russian President Vladimir Putin being flipped during a judo match with a little boy, and another shows two children using a metal tank trap as a seesaw.

Banksy’s work can sell for millions of pounds on the art market.

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Sajid Javid stepping down at next election

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Sajid Javid stepping down at next election

Sajid Javid has announced he will not stand in the next general election, saying being an MP had been “the privilege of [his] life”.

The former chancellor, who has held a number of senior roles in government alongside his Bromsgrove seat, is the most high-profile Tory MP to decide to step down at the next national vote, expected in 2024.

It comes amid reports the Conservative Party has told its MPs to decide about their future by Monday, with a number of younger members already confirming their exits.

He has also made the announcement on the day Labour secured an historic majority in the City of Chester by-election, with stark warnings that such a swing nationally could cause the Tories big problems the next time the country goes to the polls.

Politics live: Sunak ‘on borrowed time’ after Tory vote collapses in by-election

In a letter to his party chairman posted on Twitter, Mr Javid said it was “a decision I have wrestled with for some time”, but one that had been “accelerated” due to the party deadline.

“Being the local MP and serving in government has been the privilege of my life and I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to serve,” he said.

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“I always sought to make decisions in the national interest, and in line with my values, and I can only hope my best was sufficient.”

He pledged the decision would not impact his work as an MP during his remaining time in office, adding: “I will of course continue to support my friend the prime minister and the people of Bromsgrove in any way I can.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was “sad to see my good friend… stepping back from politics”, tweeting: “He’s been a proud champion of enterprise and opportunity during his time in government and on the backbenches – particularly for the people of Bromsgrove.”

Ending with a Star Wars quote, the PM added: “May the Force be with you, Saj.”

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After resigning from government over Boris Johnson’s conduct earlier this year, he made a cutting speech in the Commons

Mr Javid first came into parliament in 2010 at the start of the coalition government, and got his first job on the front bench in 2012 as economic secretary to the Treasury.

Over the past 12 years he has held some of the highest offices of state, including home secretary and chancellor of the Exchequer.

Mr Javid quit the latter role in 2020 – less than three months into the job – after the then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his senior adviser Dominic Cummings insisted he sack his aides and replace them with ones chosen by Downing Street.

He returned to Mr Johnson’s top team as health secretary in June 2021 after Matt Hancock resigned after being caught on CCTV kissing one of his aides and breaking his own COVID guidance.

But he was the first minister to resign in the wave of exits that led to Mr Johnson’s downfall over the summer, followed minutes later by then-Chancellor and now Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Mr Javid twice ran for the leadership of his party, but lost out to Mr Johnson and his successor, Liz Truss.

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Blitz spirit in Kyiv as heat, light and water supplies are knocked out for days

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Blitz spirit in Kyiv as heat, light and water supplies are knocked out for days

The host of a conference in Kyiv alerted guests that air raid sirens were sounding, before assuring them they were safe and the event would carry on as planned.

It is a small example of how people across Ukraine are learning to cope with the unpredictability of war while carrying on with their lives in a test of endurance that has been likened – in its spirit – to what the UK lived through during the Blitz in the Second World War.

Stepping onto the stage at the Kyiv Security Forum, amid the air raid warning, was Vitali Klitschko, the city’s major.

He is overseeing support for residents at a crucial moment following several waves of Russian missile strikes against energy infrastructure since early October.

Last week, they knocked out the lights, heat and water supplies for much of the capital for up to two days – a brutal taste of how bad conditions could become, if more attacks cause even graver damage as winter bites.

Mr Klitschko said he wanted to speak bluntly about the risk, telling his audience that the people of Kyiv need to be prepared for various scenarios “even the worse one” – with power out for a prolonged period of time.

He offered this advice: “Stock up on water, non-perishable food and warm clothes. Also anyone with friends or relatives who live in rural areas away from the city should talk with them and be prepared to move out there if necessary, should conditions worsen.”

Power cuts have increased in frequency in recent weeks
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Power cuts have increased in frequency in recent weeks

Asked afterwards by Sky News whether he was worried that Russia could freeze residents in the city to death with its missile strikes, he said the priority was to be prepared.

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“The main goal of Russians, we know, they tried to destroy our infrastructure, critical infrastructure, they want to freeze us. But we have to be prepared for any case, also for [a] worst case scenario,” he said, speaking in English.

“That is why everyone in the city government has to know what we have to do in a critical situation, how we can help the people because it will be [a] catastrophe if the Russians totally destroyed our infrastructure. It will be [a] humanitarian catastrophe.”

A local food market in Kyiv
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A local food market in Kyiv
A local food market in Kyiv

At the same time, he underlined the determination of residents to endure: “It’s our cities, our homes. We don’t want to leave. The Russians try to bring depression on our citizens… I talked to our citizens. They are very angry and ready to stay and ready to fight.”

As for whether what Kyiv residents were having to endure could be likened to the Blitz spirit, the mayor said: “It is [a] pretty similar situation [to the] Second World War in London.”

That spirit of defiance was on display at a local food market, where shoppers bustled from stall to stall almost as normal – despite the knowledge Russia could launch a new missile strike at any moment.

Halyna and Georgii Bohun said they have not left Kyiv since the first day of the full-scale invasion on 24 February.

Kyiv

They likened their country’s experience – in terms of carrying on despite the dangers – to what people in the UK felt during the Blitz.

“We were thinking: if they survived after such bombardment, we will also survive,” Halyna, 60, a pharmacy worker, said.

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Her husband even compared Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Winston Churchill.

“Sometimes they even use similar words, even their minds are similar,” said Georgii, 73, a retired energy industry worker.

The pair said they had enjoyed a lull in missile strikes over the past week, but were ready for worse to come.

“We are not afraid,” said Halyna. “What will be will be. But we are for freedom and only for our country’s victory.”

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