’21st century Wales does not need a Prince of Wales investiture’ says Senedd Llywydd Elin Jones
Senedd Llwydd Elin Jones has said that “21st century Wales does not need an investiture” and that the two ceremonies of 20th century Wales “should be consigned to that century”.
Her comments come after First Minister Mark Drakeford said over the weekend that he thought that Prince William’s new role “does include things like an Investiture” but that “I would not take 1969 as anything like a model to use”.
But writing in the Western Mail newspaper, Elin Jones said that the 20th-century investitures were an invention from that era that reflected the political needs of Welsh politicians at the time.
The “ostentatious investiture ceremony” in 1910 was a “publicity stunt” by David Lloyd George and the 1969 ceremony partly a reaction by the Welsh Secretary George Thomas to Plaid Cymru winning their first MP, she said.
“Ceremonial Prince of Wales investitures were therefore the product of the political imagination of the 20th Century and should be consigned to that century,” she said.
“The Welsh people and the Welsh Parliament can design a modern relationship with the Prince of Wales, based on people, not pageantry.
“If William and Kate want to meet people throughout Wales to learn first-hand of their hopes and concerns, then today’s politicians should free them to do so, rather than encumber them with the controversy of investiture.
“21st century Wales does not need an investiture. The 21st century monarchy may not want it either.”
Elin Jones added that despite taking part in many of the events around the Queen’s funeral and King’s ascension as the Senedd Llwyydd, she remained a republican and would vote for independence too.
She added however that the Royal Family seemed to have a better idea than the UK Government how to treat Wales as a modern democracy.
“For me, most striking of all during that period of ceremony and mourning, was the respect paid by the Royal Family to its four capitals and four parliaments, in almost equal measure,” she said.
“The King visited Cardiff, London, Belfast and Edinburgh. He received the condolences and addressed the four parliaments. In our case he did so in both our official languages. He met the people of all four countries.
“There’s no doubt that the Royal Family ‘get’ devolution. Had the Queen died pre-1999, then subsequent events and visits would have looked very different to 2022.
“The cynical will think that it’s all a clever ploy to cement the countries of the United Kingdom together as component parts of one whole. It may well be.
“But if it is a tactic to cement the union, it’s far more likely to prove successful than the one adopted by Her Majesty and now His Majesty’s UK Governments to undermine and roll back devolution.
“Westminster Government could learn a thing or two from the Royal Family when it comes to respecting parliaments and their democratic mandate.”
In his own interview with the i newspaper the First Minister said that he was also a republican and that one of his few rebellions as a teenager was to refuse to watch the investiture in 1969.
But he said that the decision about having a new Prince of Wales had been made by the Royal Family.
“Whatever people think of the decision, good or bad, it’s now about how to make the best use of that decision,” he said.
“And the best way to make use of the decision is to give the new incumbent the time, he will need to work out for himself how he wants to use the platform that that brings.
“And I think that does include things like an Investiture. I would not take 1969 as anything like a model to use.”
On learning the Welsh language he said: “Well, I think over time, if he finds he has an aptitude for the language, then that will be a decent ambition to have.”
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