Copying 1969 Prince of Wales investiture ‘not the right way to go about things’ says Mark Drakeford
The First Minister has strongly suggested that any new investiture need not follow the pattern set by the ceremony that saw Charles made Prince of Wales in 1969.
Charles’ investiture at Caernarfon castle in 1969 drew protests including Cymdeithas yr Iaith’s non-violent mass protests, to more direct threats from the Free Wales Army and Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru.
The King made Prince William the new Prince of Wales in his first speech as Head of State a week ago, an act that has proven controversial as almost 30,000 people have since signed a petition opposing the continuation of the title.
But Royal sources have since then hinted that this time a “low key” investiture could take place at Llandaff Cathedral – which the King will visit this morning.
Mark Drakeford said he has spoken to the new Prince of Wales but not discussed the investiture proceedings directly, but suggested that it would not be a re[eat of the last one.
“The Wales of 2022 is very different to the Wales of 1969,” he told Radio 4 Today.
“I don’t think looking back at that event and thinking of it as some sort of pattern that you would wish to pick up and copy, I don’t think that would be the right way to go about things.
“I think the new Prince of Wales will want to take time to establish himself in that role, to work out where he can make the most contribution to creating a successful Wales of the future.”
Of his conversation with Prince William, Mr Drakeford said: “He did say to me that he wanted to take on his new responsibilities slowly, that he wanted to give time for his own knowledge of Wales the things that matter in the Wales of today, to be fully established, for him to think about where his own contribution could most powerfully be made. And I thought that was very sensible as an approach.”
Last week, the Telegraph quoted the source saying that a very different investiture was planned this time.
“They want to make sure that any ceremony is about celebrating Wales, rather than focusing on them as individuals,” the Royal source said. “They have lived in Wales and they have spent a lot of time going back to Wales and they want to make sure anything they do is in keeping with the wishes of the Welsh people.”
“The Prince must also decide on arrangements for his investiture as Prince of Wales, which is scheduled to happen after the King’s coronation and is likely to be next year,” it says.
“William will become only the third Prince of Wales to be invested in Wales itself, and is said to favour a more low-key ceremony than the one at Caernarfon Castle for his father in 1969.
“One possibility is that the investiture could take place at Cardiff Cathedral, and a decision must also be taken on the role of the Princess of Wales in the ceremony, as no Prince of Wales in recent history has inherited the title while married.”
Earlier this week it was revealed that King Charles III would not want the new Prince of Wales to go through what he did during his 1969 investiture, according to Wales’ first Presiding Officer.
Appearing on ITV Wales’ current affairs programme Sharp End, former Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas shared details of conversations he had with the-then Prince Charles.
Presenter Rob Osborne had asked panel guests whether, given the protests during the 1969 investiture, they thought the announcement last Friday was made to limit the debate or the discussions of anyone who would oppose it.
“I don’t know the answer to that”, Lord Elis-Thomas said, “but I can tell you in discussions with him when he was still Prince of Wales, when I had cultural responsibilities in the Welsh Government, one of the issues I did raise with him was that I hoped there would never again be an investiture in Caernarfon Castle.
“[Prince Charles] laughed and said: ‘Do you think I want to put William through what I went through?’”
The Royal title was originally given to Edward II of Caernarfon, son of Edward I who conquered Wales, as a means of confirming that the ‘Tywysog Cymru’ title previously held by native princes of Wales was subservient to that of the King of England.
Since then it has been held by 21 different heirs to the throne, although seven of them never became king.
There have previously been long periods of history, such as between 1553 with the accession of Edward Tudor and the passing of the title to Henry Frederick Stuart 63 years later, when the title did not exist at all.
On Tuesday leader of Plaid Cymru Adam Price has said that any decision over the investiture of the new Prince of Wales should be made in Wales.
His comments come after over 20,000 people signed a petition opposing the passing on of the controversial title to Prince William.
Adam Price had originally said on Friday that while there would be “a time” for a public debate around the title, at the moment Plaid Cymru’s thoughts were “with the Royal Family as they grieve”.
His comments came after First Minister Mark Drakeford said on Sunday and yesterday that there was “no rush” to another investiture and that a discussion should take place in the meantime.
Adam Price added: “I welcome what the First Minister, Mark Drakeford, had to say on the question of an investiture.
“I’ve seen stories in the London press that an investiture is going to happen and I think that a line is crossed because that gives the Prince of Wales a quasi-official status in Welsh life.
“I think that’s a decision that we in Wales should make in a time when we’re living in a modern democratic Wales – it’s a decision we need to make here before any announcement is made.”
He added that there should be no rush to make a decision but that it was one for Members of the Senedd to make.
“I’m a republican, and there is sensitivity and pain around the [Prince of Wales] title for many of us,” he said. “But others have a different view and we need a discussion on the matter.”
On Monday Mark Drakeford said that there is a “discussion” to be had about on an elected Head of State, but it should not be had this week.
In an interview with ITV’s Sharp End, the First Minister said that there needed to be a focus on mourning the Queen.
Asked by presenter Rob Osborne whether there should be a debate on the issue, he said: “Well, not this week.
“I think there’s a discussion there,” he said. “It’s alive and happening already. But this week is a week about reflecting on the life, the service, the memories that people have of someone who has been part of everybody’s life.”
He once again confirmed that he wasn’t consulted before the creation of the title of Prince of Wales for Prince William, but said that he hadn’t expected to be.
“No, wouldn’t expect to be there’s no constitutional significance in the role of the Prince of Wales,” he said. “It doesn’t have responsibilities of its own.
“I think it’s a decision that the king has made and in some ways that has avoided what might have been a drawn-out debate about whether or not it should happen.”
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