Prince Charles has been spotted appearing to doze off during an historic ceremony in Barbados.

The 73-year-old Prince of Wales was caught on camera closing his eyes as his head slowly fell forward, before he jolted back up as cameras flashed in front of him.

The ceremony marked Barbados becoming a republic, ending four centuries with the British monarch as the head of state.

Prince Charles attended the historic Presidential Inauguration Ceremony in Bridgetown, and was joined by former cricketer Garfield Sobers, new president Sandra Mason and singer Rihanna.

During the ceremony, the heir to the throne acknowledged the “appalling atrocity of slavery”, as he described it as something “which forever stains our history”.

Charles summed up the period when the UK was one of the leading players in the transatlantic slave trade as the “darkest days of our past”, but looking to the future said the “creation of this republic offers a new beginning”.

In a message to the new president and people of Barbados, the Queen sent the new republic her “warmest good wishes for your happiness, peace and prosperity in the future” and commended the nation which has a “special place” in her heart for “its vibrant culture, its sporting prowess, and its natural beauty”.

Prince Charles watched on as the presidential flag was raised in place of the Queen’s at midnight local time, on the 55th anniversary of independence from Britain.

Despite nodding off due to the change in time zone, Prince Charles said he was honoured to be attending the ceremony, and said he will “always consider myself a friend of Barbados.”

“Tonight you write the next chapter of your nation’s story, adding to the treasury of past achievement, collective enterprise and personal courage which already fill its pages.”

“Yours is a story in which every Barbadian, young and old, can take the greatest pride – inspired by what has come before them and confident about what lies ahead.”

Image credits: Getty Images

This article first appeared on Over60.