Sunday, 12 June 2011

Opening of the Fourth Assembly government

On Tuesday June 7th HRH Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall came to Cardiff to officiate at the opening of the Fourth Welsh Assembly government at the Sennedd.  I was fortunate to be invited to attend in my role as Chairperson for the Buddhist Council of Wales.  It is the first time I have ever attended such an event and was rather amazed by all the pomp and ceremony.

The only people I knew at the event were colleagues on the Interfaith Council so I innocently sat with them in the front row on one side of the hall.  I did not realise that this would mean that I was part of the 'meet and greet' at the end of the ceremony.  The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, led by the Presiding Officer, Rosemary Butler, approached one side of the hall and Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, and the First Minister Carwyn Jones shook hands with those of us in the front row on the other side.  Prince Charles asked me about my Buddhist robes and shook my hand.

After this we had lunch at the Millennium Centre in the presence of the Royal party - though my table was a long way away from them.  I had the great pleasure of sitting next to John Clifford, Mayor of the Vale of Glamorgan for the meal.  He is a delightful gentleman.  Nearby also was Katie Dalton, the President of Wales NUS.  We enjoyed interesting conversation.  The food in three courses was delicious, beautifully presented and its serving was expertly executed.

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