Queen to attend sixth opening of Welsh Parliament

The Queen will attend the sixth ceremonial opening of the Senedd on Thursday.

She will be joined on her visit to the Welsh Parliament building in Cardiff by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.

It will be the first time in five years she has visited Wales.

The event was due to take place shortly after the election in May, but was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Queen will make a speech in the Senedd chamber, followed by addresses from Wales’s First Minister Mark Drakeford and Senedd speaker Elin Jones.

There will be a mixture of recorded and live performances from Welsh artists, centred around the theme Your Voice.

Mr Drakeford said the Queen opening the Senedd “marks the significance of the Parliament” in the nation.

He told Sky News: “Decisions are made in four different parliaments and I know the Queen has always taken very seriously the job that she does in marking that.

“As I say, she’s never missed an opening of a new Senedd term and despite the circumstances, and her age, she will be making that effort again today.”

The Queen at the Scottish Parliament
The Queen was at the Scottish Parliament earlier this month (Jeff J Mitchell/PA)

Members of the royal family will also greet pupils from Mount Stuart Primary School at the front of the Senedd, where the Welsh and British national anthems will be played, and a royal salute will be given by the Royal Navy with the Band of the Royal Marines.

The WNO Youth Opera – which has not performed live in 18 months due to coronavirus restrictions – will perform Ar Lan y Mor.

Other party leaders, members of Wales’s first Youth Parliament and local dignitaries who have supported their communities during the pandemic will also get the chance to meet the royal party.

The ceremonial mace will be carried into the Senedd by a member of the the security team, Shahzad Khan, and placed in its sconce to signify the official opening of the sixth Senedd.

Earlier this month, the Queen officially opened the sixth session of the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood.