Prince Charles recently made a significant trip to Barbados to celebrate it becoming a Republic and removing the British monarch as head of state. However, the hectic schedule apparently left him too tired, as the heir apparent to the British throne was spotted dozing off at the midnight ceremony marking the country's transformation into a Republic on Tuesday.

According to a report in Mail Online, the Prince of Wales was caught on camera closing his eyes as his head slowly moved forward. However, he managed to push himself awake and sat up as camera flashes went off in front of him.

The 73-year-old was apparently suffering from the symptoms of jet lag as he was attending the ceremony after a long flight. In addition, the four-hour time difference meant the midnight function began at 3:30 am UK time.

However, the British royal intently watched the ceremony apart from the few seconds he drifted off. He also took the stage to give an impassioned speech where he admitted the "appalling atrocity of slavery" that has been a "stain" on the British monarchy. Barbados was colonised by Britain about four centuries ago, when an English ship claimed it for King James I in 1625.

During the British rule, the island nation received 600,000 enslaved Africans between 1627 and 1833, who worked in the sugar plantations and earned fortunes for their English owners. It gained its independence from Britain in 1966, but became a Republic and removed Queen Elizabeth II as the head of state only after 55 years.

Charles, who was visiting the country as its Prince for the last time, remembered the transatlantic slave trade as "the darkest days of our past," while noting that the "creation of this republic offers a new beginning."

If Barbados had not become a Republic and appointed Dame Sandra Mason as its first president, Prince Charles would have become its head of state after ascending the British throne. He would still be the head of state of many nations in the Caribbean when he succeeds his mother as the King of the United Kingdom.

Prince Charles
President-elect Sandra Mason (2L), Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley (3R) and Prince Charles stand on parade at the airport in Barbados ahead of the country's transition to becoming a republic Randy Brooks/AFP