King Charles III was met by a choir from an anti-monarchist group at Cardiff Castle today.
Thousands gathered outside the castle gates at 1pm today as Britain’s new king and Camilla, the Queen Consort, visited Wales for the first time.
But while many cheered and shouted “God save the King”, many others felt differently.
“Abolish the royals”, “End the title of Prince of Wales” and “Pay your inheritance tax!” were among the placards held aloft by Republican campaigners.
Some carried giant flags of Owain Glyndŵr, the last Welshman known as Prince of Wales.
Former Senedd member for Plaid Cymru Bethan Sayed was among those in the crowd. He estimates that about 300 people attended the pre-planned protest.
“Why do we have the divine right of kings to rule over us? I want people to start thinking about what that means and how we can have a royal-free society,” she told Metro.co.uk.
“I think we wouldn’t be protesting today if it wasn’t for the fact that the King had announced that his son William would become the new Prince of Wales so soon after the Queen’s death.
“I think that angered people,” Ms Sayed added, given that less than half of Welsh people wanted Prince William to inherit the title, according to a YouGov poll.
More than 25,000 people signed a petition to abolish the Princes of Wales this week.
Ms Sayed added: “This is by no means the last you will see of us. We plan to organize more in the future.
“Democracy is such that we should be able to raise our voices and that’s how we were able to do it today.”
Workers for an Independent Wales, made up of members of the Labor Party, said the protesters had vowed to remain silent but broke into “spontaneous” shouting when Charles’ motorcade arrived.
“We feel so empowered that we deserve the right to protest and we deserve better than our politics,” he said.
The group said many activists felt emboldened to protest after a number of anti-monarchy protesters were arrested in Britain following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
“Having seen people arrested for demonstrating against the monarchy recently, we took the risk to protest today,” the group said.
Adam Johannes, 43, who helped organize the demonstration, said he struggles with the idea that the public cannot choose their head of state.
“Is this how we accept as natural, good and proper unelected owners of multinational corporations?” he said.
While Nick Ward, of the Labor for Republic lobby, said: “In a democracy, the debate about the monarchy is not something that should be shut down, it is a healthy public debate that should be encouraged.”
Charles’ trip to Wales began this morning, after he arrived by helicopter from his Gloucestershire home in Highgrove.
His visit was announced to the nation by the booming sound of a gun salute from Cardiff Castle.
The King and Queen then traveled in a state limousine to a service at Llandaff Cathedral at 11am.
For a time, conservation social scientist Dr Laura Thomas Walters joined a woman’s protest against him as she stood outside Llandaff Cathedral.
He told Metro.co.uk: “I think in a democratic country there should not be an unelected head of state, even if it is ceremonial. Monarchy is an antiquated symbol of class inequality.
“People, including the police, have been really, really nice. Lots of people thanked me for being there or asked me to take a picture with the sign.”
Charles and Camilla were then taken to Cardiff Castle for an audience with First Minister Mark Drakeford, an avowed republican, and Senedd Leader Elin Jones.
Mr Drakeford had earlier defended Republicans’ right to protest.
“People have that right and I think it will be exercised with restraint and be a footnote to the dominant emotions of the day,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today program this morning.
During his visit to the Senedd, the King spoke in both English and Welsh.
‘Fel fy mam annwyl o’m blaen, rwy’n tilbod ein bod ni oll yn caru’r wlad siklar hon.’ he added, which translates as “like my beloved mother before me, I know we all share a love for this special land.”
Charles’ visit to the Welsh capital coincided with Glyndŵr Day.
Following the Queen’s death, a number of Glinker Day events were cancelled, causing frustration in some communities.
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