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Cricketing legend Sobers hails republican Barbados but will miss the Queen

Barbadian cricketing great Sir Garfield Sobers said his country’s transition to a republic was “absolutely magnificent” but admitted he would miss the Queen as head of state.

Barbados’ prime minister Mia Mottley thanked Charles for travelling to her country to attend the swearing in of President Mason and for his “friendship”.

The Prince of Wales speaks as President of Barbados, Dame Sandra Mason looks on during the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony (Jeff J Mitchell/PA)

Sir Garfield, widely regarded as one of the best cricketing all-rounders of all time, said: “The Queen has been tremendous as far as I’m concerned. She is a wonderful person.”

He said he got to know her during the years he played cricket in England.

“She used to come to Lord’s when the West Indies were playing there.

“We would sit down and have a chat. We used to get on very well. She loved what I love – racehorses.”

During the reception, hosted by the new president at State House, Sir Garfield said he sat next to Charles at the official ceremony marking the transition to a republic.

The cricketing legend added: “He is not a chap that always smiles, but he was smiling last night.

“He sat next to me, as I thought he would.

Charles with Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley as his visit drew to a close (Arthur Edwards/The Sun)

“He is always one of those people who speaks his mind.

“He does not hide anything from you, which I enjoy.”

At the reception Ms Mottley said: “I think we will all agree, your Royal Highness, that we were truly touched by your ability to join us for this very special occasion and we’re very grateful for your presence, for your words and for your continued friendship and commitment to our nation.

“On behalf of Barbados I thank you.”