King Charles III: What happens during the royal visit to Cardiff?

By David Deans
BBC Wales Political Correspondent

Charles III in the Scottish Parliamentimage source, Reuters
image caption,

King Charles III will make his first visit to Wales as monarch on Friday.

King Charles III will make his first visit to Wales as monarch on Friday.

He will attend a service at Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff before heading to the Senedd to accept an offer of condolence.

Later, he will have an audience with Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford at Cardiff Castle.

Camilla, the Queen Consort, will accompany the King.

Prime Minister Liz Truss is also expected at the service, marking the first time she has visited Wales since winning the Conservative Party leadership contest.

There are warnings of large crowds waiting to greet the monarch and several roads will be closed.

image source, Getty Images
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The Queen has attended six official openings in the Welsh Parliament, including an event last year

What is the significance of the visit?

Most of the events will be about commemorating the Queen’s life and offering condolences to Charles.

Friday will be the first time people in Wales will be able to see the new King – allowing them to witness the monarchy’s transition for themselves.

It is also the last of Charles’ three visits to the three national capitals outside England.

In his first week as monarch, the visits show the importance the King places on the nations of the United Kingdom.

There is no formal legal function or necessary procedure for the events.

But the fact that Charles is coming to Cardiff in his first week as monarch will be seen as royal recognition of the place the Welsh Parliament and Welsh Government have in the UK constitution.

In the 1990s there was debate among UK ministers at the time as to whether the Queen should visit the National Assembly for Wales at all – as previously described -.

In the end, the Queen attended several official opening ceremonies and Friday’s visit shows that the new monarchy takes Welsh institutions seriously.

For the first minister, it’s also a chance to have a one-on-one chat with the new King – most of which we’re unlikely to hear the contents of.

image source, Senedd Cymru/Parliament of Wales

What’s happening in Llandaff?

The King will attend events in three locations across Cardiff, with the first focusing on the village of Llandaff in the north of the capital.

A service of prayer and reflection will be led by Associate Dean Mike Komor in Llandaff Cathedral. Participation is by invitation only.

Archbishop of Wales Andy John will give a talk before Mr Drakeford’s reading.

Prayers will be offered by the Bishop of Llandaff, June Osborne, and other interfaith leaders.

A Welsh Prayer, composed by Professor Paul Mealor with words by Dr Grahame Davies, will be performed by a choir accompanied by harpists, Alis Huws and Catrin Finch.

Professor Mealor is a friend of the King and his work has been a feature of the Queen’s death commemorations.

image source, Reuters
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Charles’ last visit to Wales was in July when he was Prince of Wales

What’s happening in the Senedd?

After the service, the King will proceed to the Senedd in Cardiff Bay, where he will be greeted by Mr Drakeford and the Presiding Officer of the Welsh Parliament, Elin Jones, who is known as the Llywydd.

In the debating chamber, called the Siambr, Mr Drakeford will read the condolence motion agreed by the Senedd in special recall last Sunday.

The King will respond to the First Minister before the Llywydd closes the meeting and the King and Queen Consort are then expected to greet members of the public before departing for Cardiff Castle.

People can pay their respects outside the Senedd building, where proceedings will be shown on big screens.

Pupils from Butetown’s Ysgol Gymraeg Hamadryad will strike the Queen Consort with a pose as they prepare to leave for their next engagement.

Shahzad Khan, a member of the Senedd security team, will perform his duties as butcher as he did at the official opening attended by the Queen last year.

The ceremonial Mace is placed in the Siambr to signify when the Senedd is in session. It is a gift to the Senedd from the Parliament of New South Wales in Australia.

Cerys Rees and Nia Evans, harpists from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, will perform and a group of 12 members of the Welsh Youth Parliament will meet the King and Queen Consort.

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Archbishop of Wales Andy John to give address at service at Llandaff Cathedral

What is the condolence proposal?

A condolence proposal is the Senedd’s public expression of sympathy following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

The motion states that the Senedd “expresses its deep sorrow at the death of Her Majesty the Queen and offers its sincere condolences to His Majesty The King and other members of the Royal Family.

It adds: “We recognize Her Majesty’s enduring commitment to public service and duty, including her support of many Welsh charities and organisations, and her lifelong partnership with Wales and its people.”

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More roads could be closed if large crowds descend on Cardiff

What will happen to Cardiff Castle?

The King will travel to Cardiff Castle where he will have a private audience with the First Minister and Llywydd at Castle House.

The motorcade will drive along St Mary Street towards the Castle en route from the Senedd.

Members of the public are invited to follow the route to welcome the royal party as it approaches the castle in the afternoon and wave goodbye to them as they depart.

They will also be welcome in the “first come, first served” areas, with very long lines expected.

The visit is expected to conclude with the king greeting the audience.

image source, Getty Images
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The memorial service will be held at Llandaff Cathedral

Is the Prince of Wales coming?

There is no indication that the new Prince of Wales will visit.

Prince William received the title at King Charles’ speech last Friday. He said earlier in the week that he hoped to visit soon.

When was Charles’ last visit to Wales?

It was 10 weeks ago that his annual visit was an opportunity for the then Prince to meet people and organizations who had his support.

In July, he opened BBC Cymru Wales’ new headquarters in Cardiff city center and was welcomed by more than 1,000 people as he and the Queen Consort, then Duchess of Cornwall, visited shops in Treorchy High Street.

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