Her Majesty appears to have issued a thinly-veiled swipe to Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and movements with the aim to break up the Union in this morning’s address to the Senedd in Cardiff. The Queen didn’t openly speak about the Union in her speech, but said what a “source of pleasure” it is to know four leading members of the Royal Family have taken residence over the year in Wales.
This could be read as a signal the monarch and the royals deeply care about the unity of the country.
The Queen told the Senedd: “It is a source of pleasure that both the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, together with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, have had homes in Wales and experienced its very special sense of community.
“The Welsh people have much to be proud of, and over the next five years I am sure you will continue to be inspired by their indomitable spirit as you represent the interests of Wales and its people, make laws for Wales and hold the Welsh Government to account.”
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In her speech, the monarch also spoke about the evolution of the Senadd over the past two decades and its important role in the life of Welsh people.
She said: “You have been entrusted to be the voice of the people of Wales.
“To represent their interests when decisions that affect their everyday’s life are debated and decided within these walls.
“When I was here for the last opening in 2016 I noted that the fifth assembly would mark a significant development in the history of devolution in Wales.
“Since then, further measures have been taken to strengthen the foundations of your parliamentary democracy.
“The Wales Act 2016 establishes this parliament on a new basis.”
She then the powers of the Senedd, saying: “The name reflects this institution’s evolution over its 22 years into one with lawmaking powers into a wide range of areas that are central to Wales’ life and the ability to vary taxes.
“It demonstrates your status as a national Parliament working on behalf of the people of Wales.”
Part of the Queen’s speech was dedicated to key workers, volunteers and people who have gone the extra mile to help others during the pandemic.
She said: “I have spoken before about how recent times have, in many ways, brought us closer together.
“We all owe a debt of gratitude to those who have risen so magnificently to the challenges of the last 18 months – from key workers to volunteers, who have done so much to serve their communities.
“They are shining examples of the spirit for which the Welsh people are so renowned, a spirit which I have personally encountered so many times.”
Her Majesty’s praises were echoed by Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, who also commended those who fought to mitigate the Covid crisis.
He said: “We have seen the best of Wales in our health and care system, the shop workers, our teachers, all those public service workers, the businesses and volunteers, whose commitment, dedication and sheer hard work has helped to keep Wales open during this most difficult of times.”
Commenting on the future he added: “As we look beyond the pandemic, we recognise that we still have many challenges ahead.
“To meet them we will use all of our powers to promote prosperity, equality and well-being for everyone in Wales. And to turn ourselves to that other great crisis of our times, a crisis in climate change and the loss of biodiversity.”
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