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Queen Elizabeth II opens Welsh National Assembly

Joined by Prince Philip, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, The Queen was in Wales on Tuesday, 7 June to open the Fifth Session of the National Assembly for Wales at the Senedd.

 The Queen—wearing an aqua green silk tweed coat by Stewart Parvin and colour-coordinated hat by Rachel Trevor-Morgan, both of which she had previously worn for a Diamond Jubilee visit to Nottingham in 2012—arrived in Cardiff on the royal train to the sound of a 21-gun salute fired from Cardiff Pierhead. After disembarking, the royal party travelled to the Senedd, waving to the hundreds of well-wishers—including school-age children who waved both Union and Welsh flags as the royal party passed—lining the streets.

Arriving at the main entrance to the Senedd around 11.40am The Queen and the royal party were treated to the playing of the Welsh and National anthems and a royal salute before the official opening of the National Assembly.

During a short speech during the opening The Queen said that the opening of the Fifth Session marked “a further significant development in the history of devolution in Wales.”

She continued, “I have continued to follow the Assembly’s progress with close interest, and to note the remarkable record of achievement over the first four terms. Though a relatively young parliamentary institution, you have established a reputation as a strong, accessible and forward-looking legislature, serving all the diverse communities of Wales.

“The Assembly can be proud of the way it has engaged with a broad audience across Wales and beyond, to create a better understanding of the important work that is undertaken here; and I am sure that you will continue to show innovation and leadership in the way that you communicate with all those you serve, and to involve them in your work.”

Touching on her 2011 visit which occurred just ahead of the first passing of the Assembly Acts Queen Elizabeth said she was “pleased now to see the Assembly serving the people of Wales as a modern legislature, with full law-making powers. It is an achievement in which all who care about Wales can take pride.”

 She finished by saying: “Your responsibility is great and the expectations are high, but I have no doubt you will continue to succeed as you discharge these new duties. Presiding Officer, Assembly Members, this Fifth Assembly marks a further significant development in the history of devolution in Wales.”

After her speech concluded The Queen signed a commemorative parchment and listened to a reading by third year Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama student Maeve Tonkin-Wells of a poem written by The National Poet of Wales, Ifor ap Glyn.

Following the event, First Minister Carwyn Jones commented on The Queen’s speech and highlighted the need for cooperation and union under a common goal for all Assembly Members. He said, “The beginning of the new parliamentary term is a special moment. A new assembly has been elected, a new government has been sworn in and a new agenda for Wales is being developed.”

He added: “[b]ut more than this the beginning of the new term marks a pivotal moment in the life of Welsh devolution itself. In the coming months and years, further powers will be granted to this Assembly marking its maturity into a more powerful parliament.”

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