9:28 AM PT -- Rihanna gave a speech this morning, talking about her pride for Barbados and thanking the nation.
The island of Barbados is now an independent republic, and one of its leaders' first orders of business is crowning homegrown jewel, Rihanna ... a national treasure.
Monday marked an historic milestone for the Caribbean nation, as Queen Elizabeth II was removed as the head of state there and Barbados became its own independent body for the first time. It also served as an induction, of sorts, for RiRi -- who was dubbed an official national hero.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley -- who serves separately from the newly elected President, Sandra Mason -- bestowed Rihanna with the title, saying she had "commanded the imagination of the world through the pursuit of excellence with her creativity, her discipline, and above all else, her extraordinary commitment to the land of her birth."
Rihanna has done a lot for Barbados in several capacities -- not only does she rep her home in her music and elsewhere, but she's also served as an ambassador since 2018. Besides this latest honor, they've showered her with other accolades and gestures over the years -- including naming a street after her.
She's just the 11th Barbadian in history to be deemed a national hero.
Meanwhile, the rest of Barbados was celebrating the fact it no longer has to operate under the monarchy going forward, which was a long time coming. The island declared independence from the U.K. back in 1966, but remained one of its Commonwealth Nations.
For what it's worth ... the Royal Family was fully in support, sending Prince Charles down to make a speech praising Barbados' freedom -- a move that got mixed reactions due to the history of slavery and exploitation established by his ancestor, King James I, in 1625.
Barbados will continue to operate within the Commonwealth.