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14 October 2021

Queen praises efforts of Welsh people during pandemic as she opens Welsh Parliament

14 October 2021

The Queen has said a “debt of gratitude” is owed to the people of Wales for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic as she attended the opening of the Welsh Senedd

The monarch was making her first visit to Wales in five years to attend the opening of the sixth session of the Welsh Parliament, and was joined by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.

In the Senedd chamber, the Queen said: “I have spoken before about how recent times have, in many ways, brought us closer together.

The Queen signs a commemorative parchment in the chamber (Andrew Matthews/PA) (PA Wire)

“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.”

During the event the Queen was using a walking stick for the second time this week and took a lift to a lobby area of the parliament building in Cardiff where she met dignitaries before attending the opening.

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

The Queen was joined by Charles and Camilla at the opening (Jacob King/PA) (PA Wire)

Mark Drakeford, First Minister of Wales, said the sixth session of the Senedd will be a period for the people of Wales to “look to the future”, and he wanted to meet the challenges ahead by promoting “prosperity, equality and well-being for everyone in Wales”.

He also praised the efforts of all those who fought to mitigate the pandemic: “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.

“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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