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King and Queen visit Wales for Senedd’s 25th anniversary

11 Jul 2024 6 minute read
King Charles III delivers a speech beside Queen Camilla during the State Opening of Parliament .Photo Leon Neal/PA Wire

The King and Queen of England are to visit the Senedd today to mark its 25th anniversary – despite campaigners calling for Vaughan Gething to make good his pledge to devolve the Crown Estate.

The Royal Welsh will form a Guard of Honour when Charles and Camilla arrive – it will be the first time the King has seen them since he was appointed their Colonel-in-Chief on St David’s Day.

They will be greeted by primary school children representing schools from across Wales, a civic line-up, the Llywydd, presiding officer Elin Jones and First Minister of Wales Vaughan Gething.

Once inside the Senedd, Charles and Camilla will meet party and parliamentary leaders.

As they enter the Siambr, Mared Pugh-Evans, who has been appointed the King’s harpist, will play – this will be her first performance in her new position.

The Llywydd will make opening remarks, followed by Mr Gething and the party leaders.

Two poems written by Aron Pritchard will then be performed, one written when he was a school pupil to mark the first official opening of the then National Assembly in 1999 and a new one written for this event – Mr Pritchard is now a member of staff at the Senedd.

A choir from a local primary school, Ysgol Treganna, will also perform.

The King will then give a speech, marking the 25th anniversary of the Senedd, after which the Llywydd will close the session.

Plans

Entering the Cwrt, Charles and Camilla will be introduced to members of Senedd staff who have worked at the parliament for 25 years, or who are 25 years old.

They will also meet members of the Senedd.

Before leaving, the King and Queen will have the opportunity to meet members of the community who have contributed to key moments in the Senedd’s history, including the petitioner who successfully started a campaign for carrier bag charges, and Welsh Youth Parliament representatives.

The Any Body Can Choir, which is made up of children who would not ordinarily get the opportunity to try musical activities, will perform in the background.

Charles and Camilla last visited the Senedd in September 2022, receiving a motion of condolence following the death of the late Queen.

They also visited the Senedd in October 2021 with the late Queen. The visit marked the opening ceremony of the sixth session of the Senedd.

Controversy

The visit from the Royals comes despite a cross-party group of MSs endorsing the demand for the Crown Estate to be devolved to Wales – with celebrity support from Michael Sheen and Jerome Flynn.

11 MSs from Plaid Cymru and Welsh Labour joined Siarter’s campaign co-ordinator, Dylan Lewis-Rowlands, to demand that the Crown Estates be devolved to Wales in March of this year.

The event, timed to coincide with the announcement of Wales’ new First Minister, Vaughan Gething, was a collaboration between MSs from across the political spectrum and Siarter Cartrefi – a Welsh campaign group.

Cross-party support

Siarter Cartrefi, a grassroots campaign organisation, in conjunction with other organisations and cross party politicians, hope to raise more awareness of the cause and to create momentum behind it before the general election.

Cara Wilson from Siarter Cartrefi said: “Devolving the Crown Estate was a popular theme in our community consultation and Emergency Housing Conference last year.

“Contributors to this process saw the need for the profits from renewable energy to benefit the people of Wales.”

The Crown Estate

The Crown Estate is a collection of land and assets owned by the Crown, but managed by an independent trust. Its profits are funnelled into the UK Treasury, and 25% of revenues into the Sovereign grant, paid for the upkeep of the royal family.

The Crown Estate in Wales owns about 65% of the Welsh foreshore and riverbed, and more than 50,000 acres of land. In 2020-21, the value of the estate went from £96.8m to £603m, reflecting the value of the land for renewable development and other projects.

King Charles (left) and Michael Sheen (right).

The estimated annual revenue in 2020-2021 was £8.7m.  As revealed by Cymru Republic, the value in 2023 was £853m. Since 2016, the Crown Estate has been devolved in Scotland.

Sovereign Wealth Fund

Siarter Cartrefi say that devolving the Crown Estate could allow Wales to address some of the longstanding challenges the country currently faces (such as child poverty) by creating a sovereign wealth fund for public benefit.

Cris Tomos, Siarter Cartrefi said: “We want to build on the support we have on this important issue.

“Wind farms generate both clean energy and substantial profit, but this money is leaving Wales. Communities across Wales, many in sight of these installations, are living in poverty, this is not fair or acceptable.”

Siarter Cartrefi’s campaign is supported by Michael Sheen and Jerome Flynn, both of whom have made videos to add their voices to this important issue.

Manifesto pledge

Vaughan Gething, newly-elected First Minister, included the devolution of the Crown Estate in his manifesto, as did his opponent, Jeremy Miles. Plaid Cymru. The Welsh Liberal Democrats, and the Welsh Greens have also endorsed the idea.

Cllr Dylan Lewis-Rowlands said on behalf of Siarter Catrefi: “This is a forward looking, cross-party and non-party campaign focused on building a positive vision for Wales’ future.

“The devolution of the crown estates and proposals for its future can pay real dividends for communities across Wales.

“Siarter Catrefi is proud to play its part in the campaign and thanks all the MSs, councillors, and activists across Wales who are supporting the campaign.”

John Griffiths MS added: “We know that there is substantial need in wales, both social and economic, which requires significant resources if it is to be effectively addressed.

“The crown estates could provide significant dividends to help meet these needs.”

Throughout this year, the Senedd will be celebrating and reflecting on its 25 years and looking to the future.

Planned activities include an exhibition, in partnership with the National Library of Wales Political Archives, displaying items from key milestones in the past 25 years, and an exhibition featuring members of the community who have contributed to the Senedd’s story so far.


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Nia James
Nia James
3 days ago

Wales’ fetish with unelected foreign billionaires continues unabated.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
3 days ago

Gwen Moffat turns 100, I wonder if the King remembered her…

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
3 days ago

To me the King and co are symbolic of all that is wrong with the UK. Elitism, classism, a sense of entitlement by the very rich, a group that exist above the law and so on. We dont need them

Karen Lewis
Karen Lewis
3 days ago
Reply to  Linda Jones

I always see them as the head of the elitist, classist, snake.

Sneb yn gwbod.
Sneb yn gwbod.
2 days ago
Reply to  Linda Jones

Do you mean that thay are crachach.

Karen Lewis
Karen Lewis
3 days ago

One waste of our money celebrating 25 years of another waste of our money. Great!

Karl
Karl
3 days ago

The English King and Queen. Costing the police and councils millionsfor visits few care for.

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