Prince Charles in awkward gaffe as he falls asleep during ceremony in Barbados

Prince Charles was awkwardly filmed drifting off during a midnight ceremony in Barbados as the country removes the Queen as its head of state.

The Caribbean country has been the latest in the Commonwealth to become a republic and the next in line to the throne was in attendance to welcome in the new era.

But the lateness – 11.30 pm local time and 3.30 am UK time – of the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony in Bridgetown appeared to catch up with Charles as cameras caught him dozing off.

Thankfully for him, he managed to jolt himself back awake before he continued to read through the programme.

In a speech acknowledging Britain's colonial history and role in the slave trade, he said: "The creation of this republic offers a new beginning.

"From the darkest days of our past and the appalling atrocity of slavery which forever stains our history, people of this island forged their path with extraordinary fortitude."

In a message to the new president, Sandra Mason, the 95-year-old Queen sent her congratulations to Barbadians who she said have held a special place in her heart.

"I send you and all Barbadians my warmest good wishes for your happiness, peace, and prosperity in the future," she said.

At the stroke of midnight, the new republic was born to the cheers of hundreds of people lining Chamberlain Bridge in the capital, Bridgetown.

The national anthem of Barbados was played over a crowded Heroes Square and a 21-gun salute was fired in celebration.

President Mason said: "We the people must give Republic Barbados its spirit and its substance.

"We must shape its future. We are each other’s and our nation’s keepers.

"We the people are Barbados."

This comes after allegations Prince Charles was the royal who supposedly "questioned baby Archie's skin colour" were denied by Clarence House, with an aide saying the claims were "fiction".

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