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Royal Rewind: The Queen opens Welsh Parliament for the first time

Queen Elizabeth II
i-Images/ Pool

The Queen is set to visit Wales for the first time in five years in October. On the 14th, The Queen will attend the opening ceremony of the sixth session of Senedd. According to the Welsh Parliament website, Her Majesty will make a speech in the Senedd’s chamber. In honour of her upcoming visit, Royal Central is taking a look back at the first time The Queen opened Welsh Parliament back in 1999.

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27 May 1999, Her Majesty was joined by the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales as they attended the opening ceremony of the Welsh Assembly at Crickhowell House in Cardiff Bay. During the ceremony, Charles spoke in Welsh to the 60 new Assembly members. The Queen signed a special edition of the Government in Wales Act – a symbol of the transfer of powers from Westminster to Wales. During the ceremony, a 13-year-old Charlotte Church gave a performance. Later that evening, The Queen and Duke attended a dinner hosted by Alun Michael MP, Secretary of State for Wales. The dinner was then followed by a fireworks display.

The first assembly was 18 months after the referendum that narrowly voted it into existence. Presiding Officer Lord Elis-Thomas invited Her Majesty to greet the “newest of parliaments.” Wearing a bright pink hat and coat, The Queen said it was a “notable moment in our nation’s long history.

“This opening today marks a new and significant direction in the way Wales is governed,” she said.

The royal opening of the second assembly took place the same week The Queen celebrated her Golden Jubilee in 2002. The assembly was able to chart new ground in politics. The Queen pointed out this was the first legislative body in Europe and perhaps, the world, to have an equal number of men and women.

“We must always remember any new constitutional organisation takes time to settle and deliver,” the Queen told AMs.

For the sixth session of the Senedd, it’s understood The Queen’s visit will include creative performances from people all across the country, combining a mixture of both in-person and pre-recorded performances.

About author

My name is Sydney Zatz and I am a University of Iowa graduate. I graduated with a degree in journalism and sports studies, and a minor in sport and recreation management. A highlight of my college career was getting the chance to study abroad in London and experiencing royal history firsthand. I have a passion for royals, royal history, and journalism, which led me to want to write for Royal Central.