It gives me the greatest pleasure to celebrate the opening of the Second National Assembly for Wales and I join Her Majesty in congratulating the Members on their election.

Presiding Officer, First Minister, Members of the National Assembly of Wales.

It gives me the greatest pleasure to celebrate the opening of the Second National Assembly for Wales and I join Her Majesty in congratulating the Members on their election.

As I travel around Wales, from Anglesey to Monmouthshire, from Newtown to St David's - in the Valleys, the coastal towns, the cities and the rural communities - I see that people are addressing issues that matter to them with increasing confidence and a sense of ownership.

In cultural terms, in economic terms, in environmental terms, Wales has its own identity and its own voice. The Assembly is part of its evolution into a distinct, vibrant country respecting the treasure of its tradition while playing an important role within the United Kingdom and on the world stage.

The Assembly is well-placed to address the many challenges facing the diverse communities of this ancient land, and I wish its Members every success in their important task.