King Charles to visit Cardiff as Welsh Parliament celebrates 25th anniversary

King Charles to visit Cardiff as Welsh Parliament celebrates 25th anniversary > News

Posted: Thu 11 Jul 2024

King Charles will visit Cardiff today as the Welsh Parliament celebrates its 25th year.

It is a quarter of a century since the first members were elected to represent their communities across Wales.

The 25th anniversary coincides with the passing of a new Welsh law that will increase the size of the Senedd to 96 members and introduce a new voting system at the 2026 election.

Today, Their Majesties The King and Queen will visit the Senedd, where the King will give a speech to mark the 25th anniversary and meet people who have made an invaluable contribution to the work of the Senedd.

Speaking at the ceremony in Siambr, the debating chamber of the Senedd, the Llywydd of the Senedd, will be the Right Honourable Elin Jones MS, the First Minister of Wales, the Rt Hon. Vaughan Gething MS, and party leaders Andrew RT Davies MS for the Welsh Conservatives and Rhun ap Iorwerth MS for Plaid Cymru.

The ceremony will be broadcast live on from 12pm.

Elin Jones MS was among the first group of members elected to the then National Assembly for Wales in 1999 and served the Ceredigion constituency for 25 years.

Since 2016, she has served as Llywydd, Speaker of the Senedd.

The Llywydd of the Senedd, Rt Hon Elin Jones MS said: “25 years ago, Wales embarked on a transformative journey by electing the National Assembly for Wales.

“Since then, the Senedd has become a fully-fledged Parliament, capable of making laws in areas crucial to people’s lives.

“This is a modern, flexible Senedd, with sustainability at its heart.

“A bilingual parliament, proudly working in our two official languages. In 2003, the first parliament in the world to be gender balanced.

“Our journey continues. In 2026, voters will elect 36 additional members to the Senedd, giving the people of Wales a stronger voice, better representation and greater scrutiny over the decisions made for them.

“Politicians have come and gone, making their own contributions. But this is not a Parliament of politicians – it belongs to the people of Wales, who forged its beginnings and are shaping its future.”

During their visit to the Senedd, the King and Queen will meet people from the community who have contributed to the work of the Senedd, including Neil Evans, the petitioner who successfully campaigned for a plastic bag charge in 2007.

Also among the guests are Sarra Ibrahim, who has provided valuable evidence to Senedd Committees on a range of issues relating to childcare, gender-based violence and the needs of migrant women; cancer campaigner Claire O’Shea, who shared her story to demand better treatments and outcomes for gynaecological cancers in Wales; and Angel Ezeadum, a former Welsh Youth Parliament member who successfully campaigned to make Black History teaching compulsory in Welsh schools.

A bouquet will be presented to the Queen by 10-year-old Celyn Matthews-Williams from Llanelli, a Senedd Covid Community Champion. During the pandemic, she has raised money for food banks and the Welsh Air Ambulance and brought joy to her community by growing sunflowers and organising a book swap on her garden wall.

Their Majesties will also meet members of Senedd staff who have worked here for 25 years, or are in their 25s, and representatives from the Welsh Youth Parliament.

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