Support our Nation today - please donate here
Opinion

Declaring a new Prince of Wales with no discussion with the people of Wales wasn’t right

10 Sep 2022 6 minute read
The past and future Prince of Wales. Picture by Justin Tallis / PA Wire.

Ifan Morgan Jones

There’s an interesting scene in the hit Netflix show The Crown where Prince Charles is being invested at Caernarfon Castle, and suddenly expresses sympathy for the political views of those who opposed the occasion.

“If this union is to endure, then we must learn to respect each other’s differences,” he says.

“Nobody likes to be ignored, to not be seen or heard or listened to.”

Of course, this was an invention of the show made for the purpose of Charles’ own character development. In reality, he did not say it.

And we now know that – after his announcement yesterday that the Prince of Wales title was being passed on to his son William without any suggestion of asking what the people of Wales thought – that he did not think it either.

William becoming Prince of Wales will no doubt be very popular with a large part of the Welsh population. There’s no point denying that.

But it will also be very unpopular with part of the Welsh population too, who will feel very, very strongly about it.

It was a politically divisive announcement. And the now King Charles, having held the title for 53 years, would have known that better than anyone else.

It’s worth remembering that alongside the drowning of Tryweryn, the investiture of the Prince of Wales in 1969 was one of the episodes that most inspired the political Welsh nationalism of the second half of the 20th century.

For all their emphasis on tradition, the institution of the Royal Family doesn’t seem to always learn from its history – or perhaps, in this case, have chosen to ignore it.

Consent

So why does the holding and handing on of the title of Prince of Wales annoy many people in Wales?

Well, it’s nothing against the holder of the post. Prince William is, to all accounts from friends who have spoken to him, a very nice guy on a personal level.

Just as republicans had nothing personal against the Queen or the new King Charles, it’s the institution itself that they think is outdated in a democratic society.

There are ultimately two issues here. The first is the historical one. The title of Prince of Wales was designed to be an insult to the people of Wales.

It was originally created by Edward I, for his heir who would become Edward II, after his conquest of Wales.

The aim was to make a strong and deliberate political statement, by taking a title that had originally meant leader of the people of Wales – ‘Tywysog Cymru’ – and debasing it.

By giving it to someone who would always be less powerful than the King of England, his own heir, he was deliberately undermining the status of the Welsh leaders that he had conquered.

But there are very modern reasons to be annoyed, too. Ultimately, it’s a matter of consent. A new ruler is being symbolically declared for us without any kind of consultation. Our opinion was not asked for.

The designation of ‘Tywysog Cymru’, whose more literal translation would be ‘Leader of Wales’, is a choice that has been imposed on us from without.

If anything it’s more a provoking decision than it was in the 50s and 60s because it runs contrary to all that Wales has fought and voted for over the last half-century at least – for a system of government that gives us a voice.

We now have a Senedd, we now have a Welsh Government. But the title of ‘Prince of Wales’ remains something that can just be decided for us by an institution that no one voted for, least of all in Wales.

A protest against the investiture, March 6th, 1969. Picture by Geoff Charles (1909-2002)

Parked

What happened yesterday will rankle more because there was no good reason for the title of Prince of Wales to be bestowed in such haste.

The title does not automatically pass on to the heir of the throne. It was only bestowed on Charles himself in 1958, six years after Elizabeth II’s reign started.

There have also previously been long periods of history, such as between the ascension of Edward Tudor to the throne in 1547 and the passing of the title to Henry Frederick Stuart 63 years later, when the title did not exist at all.

Meanwhile, the title as something of great symbolic importance to Wales was largely an invention by Prime Minister Lloyd George in the early 20th century.

He invented the tradition of investiture as a means for the Welsh people to think of themselves as equal partners in the British Empire.

Investing Prince Edward in a castle dressed up with Welsh dragons, leeks and daffodils was the way to demonstrate that.

But this way of seeing Wales, now a more confidently autonomous nation, has gone. We have our own Senedd and Parliament. In a young, modern, vibrant country, such medieval forelock-tugging feels like a throwback.

Prince Charles could easily have parked the title for the time being and, if he insisted on exploring it further, done so with his son as part of a dialogue with the people of Wales.

Scrutiny

People will say that this isn’t the correct time to comment. That it’s insensitive to criticise the Royal Family in any way during a period of national mourning.

Even Plaid Cymru Adam Price said that there would “be time, in due course, for a public debate surrounding the title of the Prince of Wales”.

I don’t agree. It’s the Royal Family, not the people of Wales, who chose the timing of this announcement. And all these arrangements had been very carefully made by clear-sighted people far in advance of the Queen’s death.

Ultimately, if the new Head of State thinks he’s going to be free from scrutiny he’s going to be surprised. It comes with the job.

The age of automatic deference is over – it doesn’t pass over automatically with the crown. It has to be earned.


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

32 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
G Horton-Jones
G Horton-Jones
26 days ago

Cofiwch Gwenllian..
A royal pilgrimage to Sempringham would not go amiss

Gruff Williams
Gruff Williams
26 days ago

I am a pragmatist and will accept a lot for an independent Wales, but this I will not. Anyone who acknowledges this calculated insult is a traitor.

Richard 1
Richard 1
26 days ago

Yesterday I heard a repeat of Mr Windor’s assertion that, as king, he’d curtail his environmental activism. “I’m not stupid” he said. You’ve blown that now Mr W.

Mawkernewek
26 days ago

I’ve just discovered that, according to Wikipedia anyway, Edward VIII took away the coronet of George into exile, which was originally made for the future George V to wear at Edward VII’s coronation, and later used for Prince Edward to be invested as Prince of Wales. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Investiture_of_the_Prince_of_Wales
Edward kept this coronet until his death in 1972

Evan Aled Bayton
Evan Aled Bayton
26 days ago

The title Prince of Wales is meaningless as the Principality which was not coterminous with the present country anyway was long ago abolished. It is one of a bundle of titles given or inherited by male heirs apparent to the throne of the United Kingdom. It is not associated with land or money or any regnal function. It would be better not used.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
26 days ago

There’s consultation. We have no voice. No power. The English Monarchy backed by the English Government continue their stranglehold over their first trophy country that started their empire, Cymru. On viewing the nausating pantomime on TV today, or should I say suffered, noticed how Charles on signing his proclamation mumbled through his scripted speech promising to be loyal and to serve everything & everything that moved or owned, which is funny seeing he failed in his duty to serve the country he was made Prince of in 1969 Wales or be loyal first wife Diana who he cheated on with… Read more »

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
26 days ago

These people have form. Who could forget the bridge-naming fiasco. A petition attracting over 100,000 signatures against the name. They have no interest in the wishes of the people of Wales.

Shân Morgain
24 days ago

Ah but as I drive over that bridge I smile. Tywysog Cynru is of course Glyndwr (or Llewellyn if you prefer). They have not bocked out the true prince/ tywysog.

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
26 days ago

Gweriniaeth Cymru! Welsh Republic!

Over time
Over time
26 days ago

That so much effort was put in to the planning for this situation, and so much work done to lay a path for Charles, makes the quick appointment so obviously a calculated move. For me, I see the quick statement – unnecessarily quick as the author says – as part of a deliberate plan to transfer power as quickly as possible and in doing so avoid any debate or discussion about the role of the Monarchy. A slight to Wales, this is indeed, doubly so because any rational debate has been overridden to secure the broader monarchy’s integrity. William has… Read more »

hdavies15
hdavies15
26 days ago

Carlo is a proven communicator and his choice of words and his timing makes it clear that he couldn’t give a toss what the serfs down in Wales think. Anyone on here who thinks that a period of “engagement”, “conversation”, “consultation”, “debate” .. need their heads read. This is an unilateral declaration of supremacy and will be implemented in accordance with a plan which in all probability has already been prepared. So get you kneeling mats ready for a circus at Caernarfon ( or is that Carnarvon?) probably in 2023 as it will serve to distract those who are easily… Read more »

David Smith
David Smith
25 days ago
Reply to  hdavies15

I’ll go over to Newborough and fly a drone into his head (only kidding 😉).

Owain Morgan
Owain Morgan
26 days ago

I can’t say what I think of this decision without my comment being banned. Suffice to say I think it stinks. Cofiwch Owain Glyndŵr! Cofiwch Llywelyn ap Gruffudd! Cofiwch Owain Gwynedd!!

Jon_S
Jon_S
26 days ago

The announcement was deliberately timed so that people wouldn’t be able to comment “without causing offence”. It’s a cynical move, and worse a statement of intent, of “ownership”. The establishment is moving strongly to keep the union together – we’ve seen the sort of statements coming out about the possibility of a Scottish referendum, and of supporters of independence being branded extremists. Now is exactly the time to say no. Plaid Cymru have bottled it. Now would be the time to come out fighting – getting rid of that ridiculous sign off the 2nd Severn Bridge would be a good… Read more »

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
26 days ago

Another gift to the Welsh Independence movement. There was no need to have mentioned this on his first speach and I suspect the hand of right wing Tory nationalists are probably behind it. Even if they are Charles should have thought it through before just blurting it out. It’s so ingrained William is titled Prince of Wales on Wikipedia after less than one day. We’ve had too many insults as a nation – Charles III has to be the last English monarch to rule over us.

stuart stanton
stuart stanton
26 days ago

‘KIng’ Charles was, true to form snuck in on the blindside as Prince. The announcement was made to a rain-drenched crowd at the Opening Ceremony for the 1958 Cardiff Commonwealth (and Empire) Games via a taped recording from the Queen, she being too ill to attend. And that was that, eleven years elapsed before the Caernarfon shindig and at least two lives lost along the way. And here we are again, no consultations, no requests just uttter disrespect. (Pic shows scene during Games at Maindy Stadium)

01h.jpg
Karl
Karl
26 days ago

King charles spaniel of England offers nothing but Empire crimees ego stroking.

william
william
26 days ago

They should renounce their titles of Prince and Princess of Wales in favor of a non-hereditary title to the Prime Minister of Cymru. Cymru am Blyth!

Llewz!
Llewz!
25 days ago

Yes Cymru march on the same day???

Gill Jones
Gill Jones
25 days ago
Reply to  Llewz!

I agree, let’s move 1st October Cardiff march Yes Cymru or have two marches!

Kenneth Vivian
Kenneth Vivian
25 days ago

Has the westminster establishment ever felt need to consult a few welshmen – conquerors of England who humiliated the English in 1485 and who never capitulate d to the Normans as England did in 1066?

B sion hughes
B sion hughes
24 days ago

Surely the announcement by Charles that his son is now
The new prince of Wales is beyond belief and arrogant
The people of cymru need to show their anger and stand up
Against this proclamation
Having seen Michael Sheen rendition to The Welsh football team
Powerful and patriotic you need to use that as inspiration and stand up
For your nation
Or make him prince of wales
Yma o hyd

Shân Morgain
24 days ago

Very much agree with this article and particularly the point that it is not us who are rushing into debate and action during the queen’s funeral, it’s Charles. I would like to suggest a peaceful solution. If William does care about Wales then let him adopt the title PATRON OF WALES, and Kate Patroness of Wales. This demonstrates care without grabbing political status. It would also be open to others to adopt the same title together with a statement of how they intend to benefit Wales with their efforts.

Dafydd ap Robart
Dafydd ap Robart
23 days ago
Reply to  Shân Morgain

Nid dyna sut mae meddiannaeth dramor yn gweithio.

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.