King Charles and the Queen Consort will make their first visit to Wales on Friday, with thousands expected to join the throngs at Cardiff Castle.
The royal couple will attend a memorial service for Queen Elizabeth at Llandaff Cathedral, where they will be welcomed by the Lord Lieutenant of South Glamorgan. They will also meet with students and members of the local community.
Following a condolence motion in the Senedd in Cardiff Bay, the king he will then hold a private hearing with the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, at Cardiff Castle, where the first 2,000 in the queue will be allowed entry.
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Preparations took place throughout the week, with pits being filled and media stages set up at the three locations.
Charles was Prince of Wales for more than 53 years after his investiture at Caernarfon Castle in North Wales in 1969.
“It was the big, formal introduction of Charles as this symbol – if you like – of Wales,” says Dr Mari Wiliam, a lecturer in modern history at Bangor University.
“Polls from the late 1960s show around 70% to 80% approval for Charles being invested as Prince of Wales – but there were also very strong protests.”
“I think in Welsh history we tend to focus too much on the protest against Charles and not so much on how he tried to integrate himself into Wales and Welsh culture,” he added.
As part of his preparations, King Charles spent 10 weeks studying Welsh language and history at Aberystwyth University.
Dr Rhodri Llwyd Morgan, director of Welsh language and culture at the university, told Sky News that King Charles’ time there was quite intensive.
He said: “You can see from his timetable – there were quite a few senior academic staff who were putting him through his paces in terms of Welsh literature, the Welsh language, Welsh history and they certainly made great progress with young Charles.”
Campaigns against the role of the Prince of Wales
The royal title of Prince of Wales dates back to when England conquered the nation in the 13th century – and there have long been campaigns against the role and for Welsh independence.
In Caernarfon, there is a mixture of opinion about Charles’ accession to the throne. “I’m ambivalent,” Richard Roberts told Sky News.
“I was 13 in 1969 when the investiture took place here and that was the age when we started to question the politics and status of Wales in the British Isles, so I’m quite ambivalent.”
I ask if he will support Charles as king?
“No, not really, because I feel like the establishment doesn’t respect my Wales,” he replied.
But others in the city are fully supportive. Janine Brown said: “I was very upset about the Queen’s death, she was in our lives for such a long time and I’m a huge fan of the Queen and the Royal Family.”
“I’m glad he’s got the chance to be King, he’s as he should be, obviously in sad circumstances, but I think he’ll be a good King,” he added.
“I Hail the King”
James Cook, who works in a cafe on the high street, believes the people of Wales will support Charles. He said: “It’s a role he’s been looking to take on for many years.
“I’m sorry for the loss of His Majesty, but I welcome the King. He’s always had the role of the Prince of Wales – I think he has the support [of the people of Wales].”
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A survey by Cardiff University found that 55% of people support a monarchy, but 28% would prefer to have an elected head of state.
Dr Marion Floeffler, reader in Welsh history at Cardiff University, says the visit to Cardiff will be a major milestone.
“Not just for those who support the monarchy in Wales, but also for those on the fringes who are undecided and want to see how King Charles will work with us here in Wales.
“Whether the reign of King Charles will strengthen or weaken the Welsh independence movement will depend very much on how he relates to the Welsh people and I would say that negotiating, paying attention and listening to the people is very much everyday life”.