Platinum Jubilee: Wales celebrates milestone but attitudes to Royal Family are changing | UK News


Street parties, a concert at the capital’s castle and hundreds of afternoon teas up and down the land – Wales is spending this weekend like the rest of the UK in celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

But away from the bunting – the milestone has reignited debate over the nation’s relationship with the monarchy, and specifically the role of the Prince of Wales.

“I think he should be the last Prince of Wales,” said Tim Rees, a member of the Bois Afan Male Voice Choir in Cwmavon.

“As much as we respect him [Prince Charles], the guy hasn’t done that much for Wales as a country.

“He very much represents Great Britain so I think it’s about time we had someone to represent the country of Wales, in Wales.”

Mr Rees’s opinion echoes not only calls by Welsh actor Michael Sheen, who has previously suggested the role should be reformed, but also voices we heard during our time in Port Talbot: respect for the monarchy, but questions over its future and relevance in Wales.

“I am a royalist. I support the Royal Family,” said one member of the Women’s Institute.

“But I think in the future it needs to condense itself.

Celebrating the jubilee at Port Talbot
Youngsters colour in masks of the Queen as part of jubilee celebrations

“As far as the Queen is concerned, she has done a tremendous job in very difficult times sometimes. But I do think they need to condense the Royal Family and give it more to the younger people.”

Her thoughts on the Prince of Wales?

“I think he has a role – but we don’t relate to him as much as we do to the Queen.”

A recent survey by Cardiff University found 55% of people support having a monarchy, while 28% would rather have an elected head of state.

The royal title of The Prince of Wales dates back to England conquering the nation in the 13th century.

Some experts believe attitudes to the now symbolic title are changing.

Martin Johnes, a professor of history at Swansea University, said: “If we look back to Victorian times onwards there has been huge pride within Wales that the heir to the throne has been the Prince of Wales because it was seen as something that made Wales important.

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“As we move forward in time, the fact Welsh nationalism has grown, that pride in it has ebbed away somewhat – it’s become more controversial as people debate Wales’s position in the UK.

“The vast majority of the Welsh population support Wales staying within the United Kingdom. Therefore, we wouldn’t expect there to be an overwhelming antipathy or opposition to royalty.

“In many ways what is interesting is not what’s happening at the moment, but what the future will be.

“A lot of support for the monarchy is based on support for the Queen – an understanding that she has devoted her life in different ways to the country and to the United Kingdom.

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“I think we’ll see a shift in attitudes. Charles doesn’t have that popularity or respect that his mother does. William has a bit of celebrity about him and doesn’t quite have some of the baggage of his father so maybe there is some hope for monarchists in the next generation.”

At Margam Castle, children are painting flags and colouring paper crowns at a family jubilee day.

Predictably there is a stronger appetite here for younger members of the Royal Family.

I ask Eve and Alessia who they prefer: Charles or William?

“William!” they shout. “Because they’ve got kids and they’re really kind!”

Alessia’s mother agrees: “I think perhaps the people’s choice would be William and Kate because they are younger, they can relate to them more, they have young children.”


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