Protests will be ‘footnote’ as King visits Cardiff says Mark Drakeford
The Welsh First Minister has said that any protests will be a “footnote” to the main proceedings, as the King prepares to visit Wales.
The former Prince of Wales and the Queen Consort will visit Cardiff on Friday, as part of UK-wide visits following the death of the Queen.
A silent protest against the monarchy will take place outside Cardiff Castle at 1pm.
Discussing planned protests during the visit, Mark Drakeford said: “People have a legitimate right to protest and there are a variety of views.
However, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that this was not the week that such objections and debate needs “to surface”.
“But people have that right and I think it will be exercised with restraint and it will be a footnote to the dominant feelings of the day.”
Mr Drakeford also stressed that he had confidence in the police to deal with protests in a “proportionate” way, amid questions about the handling of demonstrators in other parts of the UK.
“It should be proportionate. It should recognise the rights that people have.
“I have every confidence in the South Wales Police who have dealt with this sort of event many times very successfully.”
The Welsh First Minister also indicated that he did not expect the new Prince of Wales to follow in the footsteps of his father and learn Welsh.
The King spent nine weeks learning Welsh at Aberystwyth University in 1969.
Mark Drakeford told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that “nobody will be expecting miracles” from Prince William on the language, admitting that it could be a “challenge” to learn as an adult.
“The language is a very important part of Wales, spoken by thousands of people every day as part of their everyday lives. It’s not necessarily the easiest language to acquire later on.
“The incoming Prince of Wales will want to recognise the importance of the Welsh language and the part it plays in shaping the identity of a contemporary Wales.”
He said the Welsh people would understand and “appreciate” any interest in the language show by the prince.
“I don’t think anybody will expect somebody to have a suddenly acquired fluency in the Welsh language.”
“Nobody will be expecting miracles.”
Bethan Sayed, a former MS for Plaid Cymru and activist said the intention of the protest outside Cardiff Castle was to encourage the Welsh public to consider whether a different future, without the monarchy, was possible.
“As soon as King Charles III decided to announce that Prince William should become Prince of Wales, so soon after the death of the Queen, many of us felt compelled to respond,” she said.
“We must discuss the future of Wales, and what we want that to look like. Support for independence is on the rise, in two weeks a march and rally for independence will be held on the very streets that the new king will travel on.
“We need a National conversation about why the Royal family are born to lead over us. Why are we not fit to govern ourselves? Do we want to have a Wales free of the Monarchy? If so, what can that look like?
“People tell us that now is not the time to discuss this issue, however, when the monarchy passes from the incumbent to a new King, now is exactly the time to discuss this matter. It is about fairness, equality, and the Wales we want to shape for future generations.”
A petition against continuing with the Prince of Wales title has now hit 25,000 signatures, just under a week since it was started.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.