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Thousands line streets to welcome King Charles and Queen Consort to Wales

KING CHARLES and the Queen Consort have visited Cardiff for their first official visit to Wales since the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

The Royal couple arrived by helicopter on Friday morning and were greeted by a 21-gun salute, before attending a service of prayer and reflection at Llandaff Cathedral.

The Queen Consort receives flowers from a girl outside the cathedral (Image PA)

The couple then visited the Senedd where they received a Motion of Condolence before meeting with Senedd Members and members of the Welsh Youth Parliament.

The King and Queen Consort then arrived at Cardiff Castle, for their final engagement.

At the castle, King Charles held a private audience with the First Minister Mark Drakeford and the presiding officer, before attending a reception hosted by the Welsh Government.

A gun salute for the new king at Cardiff Castle (Image: Herald Photographer)

After the engagement, King Charles and the Queen Consort greeted members of the crowd in the castle grounds before departing back to London where the King will hold a vigil at the Queen’s coffin with his brothers and sister.

A KING FLYS IN

King Charles arrived in Cardiff via helicopter from his Gloucestershire home of Highgrove following a day of rest after a week of duties since the death of the Queen.

He and the Queen Consort were greeted by a gun salute at Cardiff Castle as they set foot on to Welsh soil.

Hundreds of people are gathered in Llandaff near to the Cathedral, where King Charles III and the Queen Consort will soon arrive for a service of remembrance.

King Charles III arrives in Cardiff by Royal Helicopter (Image PA)

LANDAF CATHEDRAL

A fanfare of trumpeters from the Regimental Band of the Royal Welsh greeted the King at the cathedral’s west door before Mr Drakeford gave a reading from the Old Testament.

King Charles III and the Queen Consort sang a number of hymns during the service, including traditional Welsh song Cwm Rhondda.

Archbishop of Wales, the Most Rev Andrew John, delivered an address to the congregation – which included Prime Minister Liz Truss in her first visit to Wales as the new Prime Minister – in both English and Welsh.

Paying tribute to her “extraordinary legacy of service and devotion”, the archbishop said the Queen had transformed the monarchy and provided a reassuring constancy through the decades.

Britain’s Prime Minister Liz Truss is greeted by Dean of Llandaff Cathedral Michael Komor upon her arrival for a Service of Prayer and Reflection for the life of Queen Elizabeth II

The archbishop said the late Queen’s skilful use of “soft power” came to the fore during her visits to Aberfan after the disaster there in 1966 when the community found her presence “deeply consoling”.

The hour-long service included hymns Pantyfedwen (Tydi A Wnaeth Y Wyrth), God is Love Let Heaven Adore Him and Cwm Rhondda and their visit to Llandaff ended with King Charles and the Queen Consort meeting schoolchildren in the crowd as they left the cathedral.

SPEECH IN THE SENEDD

King Charles III said Wales held a “special place” in the Queen’s heart as he gave a speech in the Senedd.

He addressed members of the Welsh Parliament in a remembrance event at the Senedd as part of the King and Queen Consort’s tour of the UK nations.

In a bilingual speech, King Charles gave the Senedd his “heartfelt thanks for your kind words”.

He added that it had been a “privilege to be Prince of Wales for so long”.

King Charles III meets First Minister Mark Drakeford (Image: Handout)

The King said Prince William, who was appointed Prince of Wales last week, had a “deep love” for the nation.

He said the “ancient title” dated to the time “of those great Welsh rulers like Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, whose memory is still rightly honoured”.

Thanking Members of the Senedd for their condolences following the death of the Queen at the age of 96 last week, the King said that “through all the years of her reign the land of Wales could not have been closer to my mother’s heart”.

King Charles said in Welsh: “Roedd lle arbenig i Gymru yn ei chalon,” which translates into English as “Wales had a special place in her heart”.

“Fel fy mam annwyl o’m blaen, rwy’n gwybod ein bod ni oll yn caru’r wlad arbennig hon,” which means “like my beloved mother before me, I know we all share a love for this special land”.

Welsh speakers said he spoke in clear Welsh, which he learned in Aberystwyth in the 1960’s

SOME BOOED THE KING

The reaction of the crowds that lined the streets of the Welsh capital was largely warm, but he was booed as he entered Cardiff Castle by anti-monarchy protesters and there were small demonstrations at Llandaff Cathedral and the Senedd building.

Charles is not universally popular in Wales and his announcement that William is to be made Prince of Wales has been greeted with anger by many. Some see it as a symbol of English oppression over Wales.

Laura McAllister, professor of public policy and the governance of Wales at Cardiff University, said: “Having the Queen’s support helped add gravitas, status, legitimacy and profile to an institution that was crying out for it at the start. I think Charles will approach his engagement with devolution in the same way.”

Auriol Miller, the director of the Institute of Welsh Affairs, said: “It is heartening to hear the King make clear his intention to serve the whole of the union.”

There was a small protest outside the Senedd but a larger one at the gates of Cardiff Castle, where Charles had a private audience with Drakeford.

Banners featured the slogans: “Abolish the Monarchy”, “Citizen not subject” and “Democracy now”. Glyndŵr flags were flown and one man held up a placard saying: “End Prince of Wales title.”

Organisers had said the protest would be a silent one but there were boos as the King entered the castle. One protester, Ryan, from Newport, south Wales, said: “The monarchy is a feudalistic anachronism. Passing power on others by virtue of inheritance does not strike me as compatible with the principle of democracy. We should rethink.”

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