William and Kate arrived at the cathedral in St Davids, the smallest city in Britain, in Pembrokeshire on Friday afternoon – a year since the nation’s longest-reigning monarch died peacefully aged 96.
The couple, whose visit was delayed due to foggy weather, were cheered by around 300 well-wishers who had gathered in the grounds of the ancient cathedral.
During their visit, William and Kate, who was wearing a burgundy dress coat by Eponine, will attend a private service lasting 10 minutes in the cloisters along with clergy, the choir and 20 invited guests.
It will be led by the Dean, the Very Rev Dr Sarah Rowland Jones, who is expected to reflect on the Queen’s “lifelong example of faithful and devoted service”.
Thou Knowest, Lord, The Secrets Of Our Hearts – played during the funeral of the Queen at Westminster Abbey – will be sung by the cathedral choir.
Following the service, Kate will lay a bouquet of flowers including ivy, eucalyptus, white roses and waxflowers, by a portrait of the late Queen.
William and Kate will then attend a reception with 20 people associated with Elizabeth II’s previous visits to St Davids, as well as those active in areas the couple have an interest in such as mental health and early years.
St Davids has been a site of pilgrimage and worship for more than 1,400 years, since St David – the patron saint of Wales – settled there with his monastic community in the sixth century.
Since the Reformation, one of the quire stalls has been in possession of the Crown and is known as the Sovereign’s Stall.
This makes St Davids the only UK cathedral where the sovereign has a special stall in the quire among members of the chapter, the governing body of the cathedral.
Elizabeth II was the first monarch to visit St Davids Cathedral since the Reformation when she arrived at the site with her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, during a royal tour to Wales in August 1955 following her coronation.
She sat in the special stall then, and on three subsequent occasions during her visits to the cathedral – which dates from 1181 – over the years.
St Davids has officially been a city since 1995, when Elizabeth II presented the then town council with letters patent elevating it to the status of a full city council during a ceremony at the cathedral.
In 1982, the Queen performed the Maundy money ceremony – in which the monarch distributes money to pensioners to commemorate Jesus washing the feet of the Apostles at the Last Supper – at St Davids Cathedral.
She last attended the cathedral, which welcomes 300,000 visitors each year, in 2001.
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