In pictures: Welsh Parliament ‘grown up now’ with more status, Queen tells members
The Queen has said that the Senedd is “grown up now” in remarks to members of the Welsh Parliament during her visit to open the sixth parliament today.
Speaking with Labour member Alun Davies who welcomed her to Wales she replied: “Thank you, very nice to come back again.”
She added: “Well you’re much more sort of – grown up now.”
The Queen also referenced the enhanced powers of the Senedd in her speech, saying that: “The Wales Act 2017 established this parliament on a new basis, and you have used this legislation to help the public better understand your work, and to include more people in the democratic process.
“As a result, this parliament is now recognised in law as Senedd Cymru, or the Welsh Parliament.
“The name reflects this institution’s evolution over its 22 years into one with law-making powers over a wide range of areas that are central to Welsh life, and the ability to vary taxes.
“It demonstrates your status as a national parliament, working on behalf of the people of Wales.”
The Queen also discussed the merits of Zoom with Senedd Members after the ceremony. The Senedd still uses a hybrid model with some members in the chamber and others at home or at their offices.
“Zoom is more or less all right – but slightly disembodied,” the Queen said.
In his speech the First Minister praised the efforts of all those who worked to mitigate the pandemic.
Mark Drakeford said: “We have seen the best of Wales in our health and care system, the shop workers, our teachers, all those public service workers, the businesses and volunteers, whose commitment, dedication and sheer hard work has helped to keep Wales open during this most difficult of times.”
He added: “As we look beyond the pandemic, we recognise that we still have many challenges ahead.
“To meet them we will use all of our powers to promote prosperity, equality and well-being for everyone in Wales, and to turn ourselves to that other great crisis of our times, a crisis in climate change and the loss of biodiversity.”
In her own speech the Queen said: “I have spoken before about how recent times have, in many ways, brought us closer together.
“We all owe a debt of gratitude to those who have risen so magnificently to the challenges of the last 18 months, from key workers to volunteers, who have done so much to serve their communities.
“They are shining examples of the spirit for which the Welsh people are so renowned, a spirit which I have personally encountered so many times.”
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