Prince Philip: Senedd pays tribute to duke's 'remarkable' life

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media captionTributes paid to "thoughtful and considered" Prince Philip

Senior Welsh politicians have paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh at a recalled meeting of the Senedd.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said Prince Philip led a remarkable life and had championed a "broad diversity" of causes in Wales.

Members of the Senedd held a minute's silence at the virtual meeting for the duke, who died on Friday at Windsor Castle at the age of 99.

MPs in Westminster also gathered on Monday to remember the duke.

MSPs also paid tribute in the Scottish Parliament, where they held a minute's silence.

The Welsh Conservatives' Andrew RT Davies said the Duke of Edinburgh's Award helped more than 400,000 people in the country.

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price celebrated the support the duke "provided to others".

Mr Drakeford said: "A very long life in any circumstances brings with it a set of remarkable events witnessed and experienced, enjoyed or endured.

"To have lived such a life at the centre of world events and in a way which made almost every experience of public, rather than simply private interest, makes it even more remarkable still, and that was the life of the Duke of Edinburgh."

As news emerged of his death, the main parties in Wales - Labour, Conservatives, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats - suspended their campaigns for the Senedd and police and crime commissioner elections.

They planned to resume the campaign for May's Senedd election after the tributes.

The first minister said "the sense of the collision of the personal and the historical has been there to see in the reaction of so many of our fellow citizens".

"It tells us something about the presence of Prince Philip throughout the lifespan of every single member of this Senedd."

Mr Drakeford said the duke, who was also the Earl of Merioneth, "was a supporter of a number of associations and societies in Meirionnydd, to the cricket club, the sailing club to the Meirionnydd brass band".

Mr Davies, leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Senedd, paid tribute to the work Prince Philip had carried out in supporting young people, military charities and wildlife projects.

He said the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme had benefitted millions of young people around the world while in Wales it had put "more than 400,000 people on the road to a future of bright prospects".

Mr Davies said he'd met the duke on several occasions when he'd visited the Senedd and he was "always interested, always thoughtful and always considered in his judgement".

image captionMembers of the Senedd held a minute's silent in tribute to the duke

'Heart-rending symbol of loss'

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said: "We are here not only to grieve but also to thank Prince Philip for his lifetime's contribution.

"It's not a title or status or crown that is Prince Philip's most important legacy that we celebrate today - but the support that he provided to others."

Mr Price told the parliament: "Our silence here today is a mark of respect and commemoration to the Royal Family in their grief, but it's also a heart-rending symbol of loss as we grieve with all those who have lost loved ones during this most difficult of years."

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image captionThe Senedd sent its condolences on the death of Prince Philip

'Democratising knowledge'

Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas said the Duke of Edinburgh had a "unique" interest in faith communities with him understanding the "importance of faith to communities".

Liberal Democrat Kirsty Williams said Prince Philip also supported literacy programmes across the world, "developing public libraries, recognising the importance of access to the written word in democratising knowledge".

Mark Reckless, speaking for the Abolish The Welsh Assembly Party, paid tribute to Prince Philip's ability to have "genuine and real conversations with so many people".

Caroline Jones, the leader of the Independent Alliance for Reform Group in the Senedd, said he was a "shining beacon of public service".

Presiding officer Elin Jones, who chairs meetings of the Welsh Parliament, told members she would write to the Queen to express the Welsh Parliament's condolences.

Campaigning plans

Plaid Cymru will fully restart its campaign later, including door knocking or door-to-door canvassing, which can now recommence following a change in the Covid-19 rules.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats will resume leafleting on Monday afternoon before fully returning to their campaigns on Tuesday.

The Conservatives will restart their campaign on Tuesday.

The Conservatives, Labour and the Lib Dems also plan to fully suspend campaigning on Saturday to mark the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral.

Plaid is still to make a final decision but the current plan is to continue campaigning on Saturday morning before stopping for the funeral itself.

The service is due to be held at 15:00 BST in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

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