Wales

Diamond Jubilee: Queen starts Wales tour at Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff

  • 26 April 2012
  • From the section Wales

The Queen has begun a two-day tour of Wales to mark her Diamond Jubilee.

She and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived in Cardiff on the royal train and drove to Llandaff Cathedral for a service celebrating her 60-year reign.

A crowd of hundreds, including schoolchildren waving flags, cheered as she arrived in Llandaff.

The royal party then travelled to Margam, to be followed by Merthyr, and on Friday by Aberfan, Ebbw Vale and Glanusk Park, near Crickhowell.

More than 600 people attended the service of thanksgiving at Llandaff Cathedral, where the Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan praised the Queen's commitment to public life.

The Queen receives flowers from Georgie Seager, nine, as she leaves Llandaff Cathedral

Addressing her, he said: "Over the last 60 years, amidst all the shifting sands of public opinion and different viewpoints, you have regarded the Christian faith as the rock on which you have been able to draw strength and comfort.

"It is a reminder to the rest of us that this country has been shaped by the Christian faith and that that faith is still important in our national life."

Lessons were also read by First Minister Carwyn Jones and the Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Prof Delme Bowen, while prayers were read by representatives from the different faith communities in Wales.

The visit to the cathedral was the Queen's fourth. Her first was in 1960 to a service to mark the cathedral's restoration following a bomb raid during World War II.

Excited crowds

Crowds waiting to see the Queen outside the cathedral had been lining the street since early morning.

One woman, who is originally from the United States but now lives in Caerphilly county with her British husband, said she had travelled by bus for the visit.

"It's a long way on the bus but I got here," she said.

"I got here early at about 8.30am so I brought my breakfast. I wish her well today. This is a lovely cathedral inside - wonderful atmosphere."

She added: "She's just a beautiful woman. Her husband's beside her - it's just too wonderful for words."

Another woman in the crowd said: "It's brilliant, it's really exciting. You can feel the atmosphere.

"But I wish more children were here because it's history.

The Queen leaves after the service at Llandaff Cathedral

"And everything we've been seeing today - the uniform, the fashion, everybody being representative... it's things we don't see normally. It really stirs you."

One schoolboy, who was stood with his classmates waving flags, said: "I'm excited because we're going to see the Queen. I have always wanted to meet the Queen and she's important. And she rules over the United Kingdom."

Also among the crowds outside the cathedral was a group of protesters from Republic Wales, holding banners calling for "democracy not monarchy".

'Fitting tribute'

The Queen's visit also included a meeting with Wales' Grand Slam-winning rugby squad during a visit to Margam Park.

The team have already attended a victory reception in Cardiff, hosted by the Welsh assembly, Welsh government and Cardiff Council, after their Six Nations triumph in March.

The engagements are part of the Queen's UK-wide tour, which began in March.

This shop in Llandaff's High Street greeted the royal visit with this display

They will also visit a community festival and have lunch in Margam Park's Orangery before visiting Cyfarthfa High School and Cyfarthfa Castle museum and art gallery in Merthyr Tydfil.

At the museum the Queen will see the first steam whistle, the first voting ballot box and dresses by designers Laura Ashley and Julien McDonald.

The royal party will also view displays by the local mountain rescue team, Merthyr scouts and the Forestry Commission.

Aberfan support

On Friday the Queen will officially open Ynysowen Community Primary School in Aberfan.

It will be the Queen's fourth visit to Aberfan since the disaster in October 1966 and a sign of her continued support for the community.

A total of 144 people, including 116 children, lost their lives when a coal waste tip slid down a mountain, engulfing a school and surrounding houses.

Later, they will meet former steel workers and museum volunteers at a newly refurbished works general office and archives in Ebbw Vale.

The Queen and the duke will then attend a service at the town's Christ Church and meet community groups in a reception.

Finally, the visit will be crowned with a "Diamonds in the Park" festival in Glanusk Park, a festival of rural activities and sports.

More than 100 young St John volunteers will meet the Queen when she visits Powys, Port Talbot and Ebbw Vale.

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