Every year around this time, Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall take a week-long trip to Wales and this year was no exception as the annual visit began on Monday. The first stop for Charles and Camilla was the renaming ceremony of the Second Severn Crossing Bridge.
Despite criticism after the name change was announced earlier this year, Charles and Camilla were on hand to officially unveil the new name of the Bridge – The Prince of Wales Bridge – in honour of Prince Charles being given the title 60 years ago and his upcoming 70th birthday in November.
The Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, was able to accompany Charles and Camilla on a tour of the Severn Crossing Toll Office. He commented on the visit, “I am delighted that Their Royal Highnesses have been able to join us on this special occasion which marks the start of a new era of cross-border opportunity. I hope that the new Prince of Wales Bridge and its sister bridge will be seen as positive symbols of the newly invigorated economic, cultural and social opportunities that will present themselves to Wales, helping to make our nation fit for the future.”
There were criticisms of the new name change when it was announced earlier this year and little was known about today’s ceremony until it actually happened.
Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, also announced that tolls on the Severn Crossings would be abolished by the end of 2018.
The renaming ceremony marks the start of a week of engagements for Prince Charles and Camilla. After the visit to one of the Severn Crossings, Charles and Camilla were due to attend a reception at Celtic Manor to celebrate business links between Wales and England.
Later on, in the week, the couple will mark the 70th anniversary of the National Health Service with a service at Llandaff Cathedral and a Garden Party at Ysbyty Aneurin Bevan in Ebbw Vale. Other engagements will include celebrating Wales’ heritage at Builth Wells, visits to Llandudno and Crickhowell as well as marking 150 years of the Heart of Wales Railway Line.