Mae'n bleser gennyf fod yma gyda chi heddiw i rannu yn y diwrnod a'r dathlu.
I am delighted for my darling wife and I to be with you today and share in this day of celebration.
It is always a pleasure to be in Wales on St David's Day, particularly when Wales's great artistic and cultural traditions are celebrated. I know that the celebration of St David's memory is instilled into the children of Wales from their schooldays. From their earliest years, they wear their daffodils and leeks with pride on March 1st, and celebrate in song and verse in their school eisteddfodau. Look at mine - specially from my garden and carefully talked to!
This is where Bryn Terfel and so many more first competed – indeed where so many of the seeds of Wales's artistic and cultural traditions were sown and tended, and still are I'm glad to say.
Last July, my wife and I had the pleasure of visiting Llanddewi Brefi, a village immortalized by St David's preaching. (What the famously sober saint would have said of Llanddewi's further immortalization in a certain television programme I do not know...)
What I do know is that the local constabulary would welcome the return of the village road sign, which from time to time seems to walk away – some memento!
Nevertheless, somehow we managed to find our way there, and enjoyed a splendid afternoon in the company of the cheesemakers of Gorwydd Farm – one of the excellent Welsh food producers whose efforts are ensuring that this country's culinary traditions are increasingly respected as part of its distinctive culture. Our delicious lunch today showed that great headway is being made on this front, as your Presiding Officer needs no reminding – in fact, I'm sure I won't have been the first to remark in the wake of last week's defeat of the French by the Welsh Culinary Team (of which I'm enormously proud to be Patron) that it might be time to consider a new national sport - perhaps involving a competition to see how fast beef can be got off the bone…!
In fact, today has been a literal and figurative feast of Welshness: from Breconshire lamb to Welsh gold ice cream; from Gwyneth Lewis's powerful and harmonious verses to the harmony of wood and slate in this building. Needless to say, I am delighted to be able to contribute to the ingredients the playing of my own harpist, Jemima Phillips.
I must say that I am rather proud to have revived the position of harpist to The Prince of Wales and she very kindly plays at many different events for me. She was with us last Summer in Llandeilo – perhaps she will forgive me if I recall remarking to the Lord Lieutenant, as I walked up to greet her: “She was a brunette when I appointed her, now she‘s a blonde”. The Lord Lieutenant, however, commented that it was my eyesight and I'm afraid he may have been right!
This afternoon, as Patron, I visited the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama from which many talented Welsh stars of music and drama are continually graduating and enhancing the name and reputation of the Principality. This evening I shall play the proud Patron's role once again as we all attend tonight's performance by Welsh National Opera. This venerable institution reaches its 60th birthday this year (marginally ahead of its rather crumbly Patron) and my wife and I are looking forward keenly to hearing the company perform in its new home.
Each time I visit Cardiff Bay it seems that the skyline changes and this time, of course, has been no different as we see the familiar landscape from a new perspective. The Millennium Centre has a new companion at last and I hope that both the Centre and the Senedd will ring with Welsh passion and eloquence in years to come, their proximity reminding us of the centrality of the Arts to civilized society.
The renown of the Welsh in matters both temporal and artistic is, after all, well documented. Here's one description: “they omit no part of natural rhetoric in the management of civil actions, in quickness of invention, disposition, refutation, and confirmation. In their rhymed songs and set speeches they are so subtle and ingenious, that they produce, in their native tongue, ornaments of wonderful and exquisite invention both in the words and sentences.” Yes of course – Gerald of Wales in the twelfth century!
Diolch i chi eto am wahodd fy ngwraig a minnau yma heno. Dymunwn noson hudolus i chi gyd.
[Thank you again for inviting my wife and me here tonight. We wish you all a magical evening.]