The Queen paid a glowing tribute to the people of Wales as she formally opened the Senedd

By Katie-Ann Gupwell

The Queen has paid a glowing tribute to the people of Wales praising the country for its special "spirit".

The Queen made the comment in her speech as she visited Wales on Thursday to formally open the Senedd after May's election. The event was delayed because of coronavirus. It was her her first visit to Wales in five years.

Addressing the Senedd, she praised the Welsh Government for its work during the pandemic and also paid a passionate tribute to the people of Wales.

Read more: See our live coverage of the Queen's visit here

She told the Senedd: "You are to be commended for your innovation - this was the first of the United Kingdom's legislatures to hold a virtual meeting.

"The fact that all parties showed a determination that you should continue to meet is commendable, and a testament to your commitment to scrutinize the Government on behalf of the people of Wales.

"I have spoken before about how recent times have, in many ways, brought us closer together.

"We all owe a debt of gratitude to those who have risen so magnificently to the challenges of the last 18 months - from key workers to volunteers - who have done so much to serve their communities.

"They're a shining example of the spirit for which Welsh people are so renowned. A spirit which I have personally encountered so many times.

"It is a source of pleasure that the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, together with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, have had homes in Wales and experienced its special sense of community."

Official Opening of the Sixth Welsh Parliament Senedd Cymru by HM The Queen (Ben Evans/Huw Evans Agency/Senedd Cymru)
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall arrive for the official opening (Gareth Everett/Huw Evans Agency/Senedd Cymru)

The speech continued: "The Welsh people will have much to be proud of, and over the next five years, I'm sure you will continue to be inspired by their indomitable spirit, as you represent the interest of Wales and its peoples, makes laws for Wales, and holds the Welsh Government to account.

"There are many challenges ahead as you work together to promote the wellbeing of the people of Wales, and support the recovery effort.

"The Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and I extend our warmest good wishes to you for the sixth session of this parliament, and hope you have every success with your endeavours."

The event included creative performances by participants from all over Wales, but, due to the ongoing restrictions, for the first time it will involve a mixture of in person and pre-recorded performances.

During the official opening of the Senedd, the Queen made a speech in the Senedd’s chamber, as did the Llywydd of the Senedd, Elin Jones MS, and First Minister, Mark Drakeford. You can follow live updates here.

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