THE unveiling of the new name for the Severn crossing was unveiled yesterday, despite opposition to the change.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall began their summer tour in Gwent by marking the renaming of the Second Severn Crossing at a ceremony held at the toll plaza office.

The controversial decision to rename the bridge to mark the prince’s 70th birthday led to anger in the Senedd when economy and transport secretary Ken Skates was quizzed over the Welsh Government’s position on the renaming in May.

The couple firstly visited the plaza and met staff who work at the bridge.

They took a tour of the Severn Crossing toll office, led by the secretary of state Alun Cairns, and met Highways England staff who have been responsible for the crossings since they returned to public ownership in January this year.

The party then moved to the golf club at the Celtic Manor in Newport where they were welcomed by the Nidus Children’s Choir, who are based in Cwmbran, and Ashton Gate school choir from Bristol.

They were met by first minister Carwyn Jones, high sheriff of Gwent Sharon Linnard, chairman of Monmouthshire County Council Cllr Peter Clarke, chief executive of Monmouthshire County Council Paul Matthews and Gwent Police’s chief constable Julian Williams.

Anne Denholm, official harpist to the prince of Wales, played as the prince of Wales and the duchess of Cornwall met with guests representing business from both sides of the Severn.

David Hando, chairman of the Friends of Newport Transporter Bridge, said: “The invitation came out of the blue, and my wife Mary is representing the Women’s Institute.

“I explained what the Transporter Bridge is and why it was built.

“I invited him to come and climb the 280 steps, he was politely interested.”

Speaking at the event the prince said: “In coming here today, I can only say that my wife and I are most impressed with what we have seen of the enterprise and activity taking place on both sides of the River Severn.

“In taking part in this occasion today, we are conscious of the history in whose shadow we stand.

“In particular, I am mindful of how the title of Prince of Wales goes back to those great Welsh rulers, such as Llywelyn apGruffudd, whose memory is still rightly honoured by all who value a true understanding of our past.

“It is, therefore, my particular hope that the crossing’s new name will bring to mind all those who, over these long centuries, have borne that ancient title ‘Tywysogion Cymru’ and the different traditions and heritages that they represent.”

Speaking about the opposition to the renaming Mr Cairns said: “If you take any international study, one was recently conducted by the Welsh Government on the brand of Wales, how that was seen and known internationally.

“Well the Prince of Wales is one of the most prominent figures that points to Wales, and therefore I couldn’t think, in this significant anniversary year, of a better title of someone bridging two communities in his 70th birthday year.”

The next stop on the visit was Tintern where the prince and duchess met voluntary workers as they marked the 90th anniversary of the Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations (GAVO).

Shown around by GAVO’s chairman, Edward Watts, the prince and duchess met volunteers young and old who have been working to improve their local communities.

The prince rounded off the visit by unveiling a commemorative plaque and the duchess cut a special cake to mark the occasion.

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cambridge will return to the region later this week to mark the 70th Anniversary of the NHS.