UK

Mourners gather in Welsh Valleys pub to watch the Queen’s funeral

A pub in the heart of the Welsh Valleys opened its doors on Monday for mourners to watch the Queen’s funeral.

King Charles visited The Lion in Treorchy, in the Rhondda Valley, in July when he was still Prince of Wales, and poured a pint of ale behind its bar.

Months later, as the Queen’s state funeral took place, the service was displayed on the pub’s multiple TV screens as several families watched the broadcast over drinks and food.

Landlord Adrian Emmett said he thought it was important that pubs “at the heart of a community” offered a place for people to come together to mark the occasion.

“We wanted to be open because this is a place where people come together not just in the good times but also when we need to join as a community,” Mr Emmett said.

“I don’t care if we have one customer or 50, it’s not about that. It’s that we’re here if people want to come in.

“We all knew this day would come but it was still a massive shock when it happened,” he added.

“I lost my grandmother on Christmas Eve last year, and when this happened I think a lot of people related it to when they lost someone dear in their family.

“When Prince Charles came here he and Camilla just seemed so normal and they had so much time for everyone – they affected people’s lives for the better.

“So our thoughts are with them today.”

Mr Emmett said he hoped the new Prince and Princess of Wales, William and Kate, would visit in the near future.

He added: “We’ve started a tradition now, the future King has to pour a pint behind the bar at The Lion.”

At 11.55am those in the pub observed the two-minute silence with one customer, Steven Williams, standing out of respect for the former monarch.

The 35-year-old from Ton Pentre who came to the pub with his partner, daughter Harper and their friends, said he thought it was important to mark the occasion.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said.

“She’s been working all her life so we thought we could take at least one day out of our lives to pay our respects.

“I think it’s important that the children remember it too.

“We won’t see another queen in our lifetime, and they won’t either.”

“I was expecting more people to be here to be honest, but perhaps people are doing it more privately,” he added.

Reacting to William and Kate being named the Prince and Princess of Wales, Mr Williams said: “It will be good for Wales if they’re proactive.

“They’re much more relatable to us and I think a lot of us would rather see them on the throne. But at the end of the day you’ve got to give King Charles a chance as well.”

Tearful bartenders hugged each other as the national anthem was sang in Westminster Abbey, but there was notably no singing from pub-goers.

Bartender Xander Morgan-Roe, 19, called the day “a pinnacle of history”.

“People will want to mark this day in different ways, some will stay at home but some will want to come here and socialise with others while it’s happening. So I feel like I’m doing my bit to be part of it,” he said.

“It’s a heartbreaking time, she was a brilliant woman and will go down in history as one of the best, if not the best, monarch in history.

“But because of that I like to see this as a celebration as well. She did her duty, she did it greatly and now she gets to rest.”

He added: “There are differing opinions about the Royal Family among my friends, it all depends on how they were brought up I think, and what their political views are.

“But I’d say most still believe it’s an important moment in our history and even our culture.”

No councils in Wales have arranged for there to be public screenings of the funeral despite viewing events taking place across the UK, including in cinemas, cathedrals and parks.

Nor will there be a service of commemoration as has been organised in other devolved countries.

King Charles visited the nation for the first time on Friday since ascending the throne.

Thousands of well-wishers lined the streets to greet the new monarch but there were also small protests at each of the locations Charles and the Queen Consort journeyed to.

Some, including actor Michael Sheen, criticised the timing of the King’s visit to Wales which took place on Owain Glyndwr Day, a day celebrating the life of the man who led the last rebellion against the English and is seen by many to be the last native-born Prince of Wales.

A petition calling for an end to the title being bestowed on the heir apparent of the British monarchy has now reached more than 30,000 signatures.

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