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Watch: Michael Sheen questions whether the title of Prince of Wales means anything to King Charles and William

16 Sep 2022 5 minute read
Michael Sheen

Michael Sheen has questioned what the title of Prince of Wales means to the Royal Family, after the King decided to visit Wales on Owain Glyndŵr Day.

The actor asked whether they realised the King’s visit clashed with the day, which would have been “insensitive to the point of insult”.

But if the visit was arranged without realising the history of the day in which Owain Glyndŵr was made Prince of Wales in 1404 “then one does wonder what being Prince of Wales was so long actually meant if you were not aware of what that day means,” he said.

He goes on to end by quoting Lily Smalls, Mrs. Beynon’s maid, from Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood: “Where you get that thing from, Willy? Got it from my father, silly. Give it back then, love.'”

Michael Sheen’s words in full

“It’s an absolutely beautiful day here in Wales. It’s also a very important day for a number of reasons. Firstly, because today, September the 16th is the day that the new King Charles, after the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth – it’s the first time he’s visiting Wales as King Charles.

“It’s been an extraordinary last period of time very emotional sort of era defining period of time. So much tradition, history, and so much sense of loss and sadness and grief.

“And I offer my sincerest sympathies to Charles and his family on the loss of their mother, grandmother – and to everybody who’s feeling such depth of emotion and a sense of loss.

“Obviously, for for people who feel so proud of their Britishness the queen is very much a symbol of that. And I think it’s really connected with people because of her extraordinary sense of duty and service to our country.

“And that she’s been there for so long, and it’s been such a sort of fixed point. It has been an extraordinary overwhelming period of time and still is, I think.

“And to see the extraordinary sense of history and tradition. And all the symbolism that goes with that has been, has been very, very powerful.

“But of course, there’s, there’s more than one story in these isles. There’s more than one traditional, more than one history.

“And today is a very important day, as well, because September the 16th is the day that many people here in Wales celebrate Owain Glyndwr who was the last native Prince of Wales – self proclaimed.

“He led a rebellion against the English crown not only to free his nation as he saw it, but to create his nation. Owain Glyndwr’s vision for what Wales could be and what he started to try and build began with his reclaiming of himself as a native Prince of Wales.

“Before him had been Llywelyn ap Gruffydd who had been acknowledged as Prince of Wales, but he’s now known as Llywelyn the Last. He didn’t know he was called out at the time, obviously, but he’s known as Llywelyn the Last because he was the last recognise Prince of Wales.

“But then after that, it wasOwain Glyndwr who proclaimed himself and then led a rebellion that went on for 15 years, but was eventually crushed. And, and that was the last time Wales had the native Prince of Wales.

“And since then, in the tradition that Edward I began by naming his own son, Prince Edward, Prince of Wales, in a, in a sort of symbolic act of rebuke and punishment, and humiliation, some would say, of Wales, and with the intent to stop a Welsh nation developing and emerging, which was the dream of Owain Glyndwr.

“And so this day, September the 16th is important to many people in Wales. Because of that, because it marks the moment where Owain Glyndwr tclaimed that title.

“So those two things are obviously connected because of course, to choose September the 16th to come to Wales, having created his son William as the new Prince of Wales or Tywysog Cymru.

“To choose this day, September the 16th to come here as his first visit, seems full of meaning. On the one hand, if it’s chosen, deliberately, then I’m sure many people will feel that that is quite an insult to those that celebrate Owain Glyndwr who tried to free this nation from the oppression of the English monarch at the time.

“And having been told that the new Prince of Wales would take on those titles with a great sense of humility, and respect, and  celebrate the history, the proud history and traditions, of Wales, and it’s quite surprising to see.

“If it was done on purpose it seems insensitive to the point of insult. And if it wasn’t done on purpose – if it was done accidentally without realising what that day was – then one does wonder what being Prince of Wales was so long actually meant if you were not aware of what that day means.

“So an important day in many ways, I think. With King Charles in Cardiff meeting the Welsh Government. I’m not entirely sure that they will be talking about that.

“I just wanted to add my voice to many others marking the irony of the celebration for Owain Glyndwr’s day being cancelled today because of the visit of an English monarch.

“It is, to put it mildly, ironic. And I hope it’s not a declaration of intent. Because that would be very concerning.

“And so happy Owain Glyndwr Day to you, King Charles, the to you Prince William, Tywysog Cymru.

“And to all those in Wales who feel a deep meaning to this day. And to borrow the words of another Welshman, Dylan Thomas from under Milk Wood: ‘Where you get that thing from, Willy? Got it from my father, silly. Give it back then, love.'”


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Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
18 days ago

Well said!

Robin Lynn
Robin Lynn
18 days ago

Guess who gets my vote for Prince of Wales!

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
18 days ago

Michael Sheen’ is right to question both commitment to Wales.. Charles did absolutely nothing for Wales in his pathetic 42yr reign as Prince of Wales and William will be no different. He’s already inheriting the trappings. Like father like son. Also , Sheen was spot on to say it was an insult for Charles to choose Owain Glyndwr day to do his proclamation and victory parade through the streets of Cardiff. It was indeed a slight seeing he and his advisors likely knew of the significance, could have easily rearranged it for another day not to clash, but didn’t. It… Read more »

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
18 days ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Not surprising therefore that Wales was described as “the more hostile” of the four home nations he visited.

That is what you get for disrespecting a nation’s people, their culture and their history.

Jon Doe
Jon Doe
18 days ago

Come on Michael, put your money where your mouth is. Declare yourself prince and start a new uprising. Yma o hyd

David Roberts
David Roberts
18 days ago

I wish no ill on the English monarchy. But that’s what they are, and who they represent, English, not Welsh. They mean nothing to me. Yma O hyd.

David Charles pearn
David Charles pearn
9 days ago
Reply to  David Roberts

Me neither.

Kenneth Vivian
Kenneth Vivian
18 days ago

England and Wales had foreign rule and monarchs thrust upon them but , unlike the English, Wales resisted for four centuries. Owain G was but one of many Welsh rebels who fought on until the gallant few overthrew the last French ruler and his English army to install Prince Arthur
of Wales

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
18 days ago

Michael Sheen for President. If this proposed Queen Elizabeth Day bank holiday gets the go ahead, we in Wales need to take it as a gift. We’d have no chance of making Glyndwr Day a bank holiday so just as the Tory hate rags suggested that St David’s Day be trashed by having Maggie Thatcher Day, touche morons! We’ll have our Glyndwr Day. Checkmate!

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