The Queen’s repeated visits to the small Welsh mining town of Aberfan, after a disaster which killed 116 children and 28 adults, were an example of her “soft power”, which shaped the UK and its relations with the world, the Archbishop of Wales, the Most Revd Andrew John, said on Friday.
The tragedy, in 1966, when a colliery spoil tip collapsed engulfing a primary school, led to four visits to the town from the Queen — the last in 2012, to open a new school. Archbishop John said that the people of Aberfan found her “deeply consoling”.
“In her role as head of the Commonwealth,” he said, “she presided over a growing fellowship of nations, and she embraced our diverse histories, cultures, and languages, delighting in the sheer variety of this unique assembly. At times, when countries threatened to forsake each other, she displayed the skilful use of that ‘soft power’ . . . that way of exercising power that has depth and reach.
“In Wales, that skill was never more evident than when she visited Aberfan, in 1966. The community of Aberfan found her presence deeply consoling, and Her Majesty would return four more times to this community.”
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— Church Times (@ChurchTimes) September 16, 2022