King Charles III's warm reception in Cardiff is a snapshot of a changing Wales

King Charles III is greeted by crowds in Cardiff on Friday. Credit: PA

In some ways we’ve seen a snapshot of a changing Wales in today’s visit of the King and Queen Consort.

The large, cheering crowds at each of the stages showed just how popular the monarchy remains here and how much good will there is to King Charles in particular.

It was really quite something to see the way people in the crowds reached out to him, to console him, to cheer him, to thank him or just to take a photo of him.

Over the last week it’s become clear how comfortable the new monarchy is with crowds and how important it is for him to act that way, even if it derails the previously immovable royal timetable.

King Charles greets the crowds in Llandaff. Credit: PA

The warmth shown to him may be a surprise to some of those who have been critical of him over the years as Prince of Wales and to those who are opposed to the monarchy in general.

But it fits with polling which has found that he remains popular with large swathes of Welsh people.

Dissenting voices were in evidence. I saw a small group of anti-monarchists in Cardiff Bay, booing his arrival and holding up paper with the flag of Owain Glyndwr on.

Some in the crowd told them to shut up, but I also saw some royalists chatting to them politely to ask them why they thought what they thought.

They may not be the majority but people with republican views are in positions of power here in Wales.

The First Minister, the Llywydd and Plaid Cymru’s leader may frustrate some of their supporters by not being more vocally critical and for saying, as Mark Drakeford has, that now is not the time for such discussions, but they have sent their own clear messages in everything they’ve said even while they’ve expressed sincere condolences and spoken with deep respect.

This is a transition period, said the First Minister. And by saying that he implied that there was more changing than just a switch of personnel at the top.

What role the Prince of Wales has, what sort of investiture, if any, takes place, what role the king plays: all these things are up for discussion in the years to come.

But those same republican leaders know that they are in the minority and today will have underlined that to them.

They know that they force change without the support of all those people who lined the streets today at their peril.

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