Support our Nation today - please donate here
Opinion

Plans to slim down the Prince of Wales role show that another divisive investiture is far from inevitable

04 Apr 2022 4 minutes Read
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Picture by Frankie Fouganthin (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Ifan Morgan Jones

As with almost all ‘ancient traditions,’ the investiture of the Prince of Wales is remarkably recent. In fact, it’s only ever happened twice in the modern era, once in 1911 for the future King Edward VIII and once in 1969 for Prince Charles.

The original investiture in 1911 at Caernarfon was dreamt up by local MP and then Chancellor David Lloyd George, largely as a kind of coming out ceremony for Wales as its own nation.

For what had previously been considered by many just a county of England, recognition that Wales was an equal partner within the UK mattered a great deal at the time. The investiture and its celebration of all things Welsh was a way of demonstrating that.

But Wales no longer needs a Royal seal of approval to confirm it as a nation – that status is now decided by its own people. It has its own parliament and an array of national institutions backed by democratic support.

Charles’ investiture over 50 years ago, in 1969, was already past its sell-by date. It is remembered today less as a triumph for Royalism an more as a spark that, alongside Tryweryn and the battle for the Welsh language, ignited the Welsh national movement.

The title of the Prince of Wales is seen by many in Wales as inherently divisive as it was handed to the King’s heir after the conquest of Wales in order to undermine its status.

But that history aside, another investiture today would also just become a wedge issue in Wales and a wider UK already politically split down the middle. It would be impossible for the Royal family not to find their ceremony becoming a political football in culture wars, Brexit, Welsh independence versus devoscepticism, and the cost of living crisis.

A poll by WalesOnline last year showed that 61% in Wales wanted another investiture. But the Royal Family aren’t politicians – being unelected, taking half the nation with them won’t do. And an opinion poll says nothing about salience. They are likely to find that of those who don’t want it, a lot really don’t want it to an extent that would likely sour the whole thing, as it did in 1969.

Divisive

And I think that the Royal family sees this too. The Queen will be 96 this month and looking increasingly frail, and I think that there is a recognition that much of the goodwill bound up with the Royal Family is invested in her rather than her wider family.

When she’s gone, Prince Andrew’s scandals will continue to linger like a bad smell in the background. Prince Charles can never aspire to be as personally popular as his mother. While William and Kate are widely liked, the deference which belonged to previous generations just doesn’t belong to theirs.

Prince William at least seems to recognise this, saying that he doesn’t expect to be Head of the Commonwealth – realistically, most of the members who still have the British R as head of state are likely to start electing their own once the Queen dies.

William has also indicated that the role of the Prince of Wales will become slimmed down, with half the staff and far fewer charities.

A good first step in this slimming down process would be to dodge a politically divisive and costly jamboree at Caernarfon Castle.

The deletion of the Prince of Wales title altogether is no doubt too much to hope for at the present time. However, a more PR sensitive post-Queen Royal Family may realise that drawing attention to it with a big party probably isn’t the best way forward.

After all, doing away with the investiture would not be the end of a tradition – just a return to a norm after an idea first dreamt up by Lloyd George, which by 1969 had already outstayed its welcome.


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
22 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Dave
Dave
1 month ago

61% want another investiture? really! where are all these royalists living? even my nan wanted rid of them.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
1 month ago
Reply to  Dave

Just go and read the WoL comments about Covid or the terrible tyrant “Dripford”. Half the morons posting there or more don’t come from Wales and fake news vendors from USA and the Antipodes proudly announce their ignorance.
As for your Nana my great uncle quit the British Communist Party in 1956 not because Russia invaded Hungary but because the BCP dared to criticise Comrade Stalin.

David Smith
David Smith
1 month ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

I’m convinced that there is British government-directed swarming of comment threads on online publications and social media with pro-union propagandist commentary, and upvotes and ‘likes’ for such. In Scotland at least, the prevailing sentiment simply doesn’t align with the polling and its demographic distribution (younger people being pro independence and more engaged with new media and tech). I once saw a comment on WalesOnline which barely contained a smidgen of correct spelling and grammar, but minutes later the same account switched to near flawless (though still pretty simplistic) writing. Look at any post by Sturgeon or the SNP on Twitter,… Read more »

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 month ago

If a date is set for another investiture at Castell Caernarfon, it will ‘strangely’ coincide with the biggest Yes Cymru march ever and if the march is banned, it will be even bigger than the biggest Yes Cymru march ever.

Dave
Dave
1 month ago
Reply to  Fi yn unig

what a good idea, there are some fantastic chippies in Caernarfon, well worth a visit for them alone 😉

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 month ago
Reply to  Dave

Yes, I used to sleep over in my truck occasionally in Caernarfon and I can vouch for Y sglodion bendigedig. (The wonderful chips).

Richy
Richy
1 month ago
Reply to  Fi yn unig

I’ll be there for that march

Aled Rees
Aled Rees
1 month ago

If they try for another stupid jamboree in Caernarfon I predict that mayhem will ensue.
Remember there are far more nationalists now than there where then.
MAYHEM.

CJPh
CJPh
1 month ago

If another false Prince is presented to us from the ramparts, given the way we have moved towards greater autonomy, given the growing belief that we can govern ourselves completely, given that trust for these ossified remnants of a fictionalised past is dropping, who can predict the ultimate reaction? Perhaps it’d be a good thing – the last straw. Perhaps political apathy trumps our still-young movement. Still, it’s increasingly difficult to see exactly how a prevailing focus on just how antiquated and foreign an investiture looks(and thus the title and office) could possibly be avoided.

Glen
Glen
1 month ago

Bring it on, it will be a massive boost to the independence movement.

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
1 month ago

Sadly, I believe that English conquest triumphalism will be irresistible to Johnson and many of his ilk. We are very likely to have a third Caernarfon Durbar.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

The English Royal Family are medieval mafia. A passive dictatorship. Who refer to themselves as “The Firm” not my description but the Queen’s herself. The Welsh will have no choice if we want or not William & Kate as Prince & Princess. of Wales. They will be forced on us as done when Prince Charles was imposed on us in 1969 to pander to Unionists Anglophiles like today’s Simon Hart. William and Kate, like Charles will use their publically funded Carmarthenshire holiday home as a facade to bamboozle the public into believing they are committed to Wales, but it’s a… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Y Cymro
hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago

The Establishment will find the prospect of another panto at the castle irresistible, so be prepared.

Richard
Richard
1 month ago

Dafydd El to take the role of George Thomas as Caernarfon ring master ?

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard

That’s probably a career highlight that will come to late for the aspirational social climber. However there are plenty of other sycophants in training both here in Wales and elsewhere in UK. The chase for the role of sycophant in chief could become a fight between Hart – ex military, loves a panto with uniforms, and ARTD who just loves any kind of ceremony with a few HRH’s in attendance. There again in these times of equality and diversity we might get a top drawer lady sycophant – Crosbie or Atherton ? if they are still in office !

Richard
Richard
1 month ago
Reply to  hdavies15

So funny 😂 but So sad.
Our history is full of young well meaning and idealistic radicals who just can’t stop 🛑 themselves as they grow older and rise up the ladder. I was in NUS Cymru when it first started….i was denounced as as many were by folk who over the years have made personal, pole climbing , personsl ambition and ‘ sell out ‘ an art

Andy Williams
1 month ago

The year is 2022, when are we going to get rid of this nonsense and elect our head of state? As for another English Prince of Wales, have we no pride

Richard
Richard
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy Williams

Any new method only after a national conversation so we can move forwad via a post Charles Regency in an inclusive, democrstic and open way.

We dont neee to replocate the botched Australian experience where everyone knew what they didnt want but not what they did.

Iorwerth ap Wyllt
Iorwerth ap Wyllt
1 month ago

It’s funny, the same people who demand the royals silly ceremonies are the same ones criticizing the Gorsedd for their ceremonies.

Their actions only push more people to the indy movement, every time they step on our flag another person picks one up.

I also have plans for the investiture that will involve a couple buckets of paint and the mysterious painting over of saes signs in the hopes they never find Caernarfon.

Shan Morgain
1 month ago

The Gorsedd don’t get paid millions in tax money. Their ceremony is beautiful and they foster Welsh culture. Their tradition was created in the late 19thC by one Iolo Morganwg and he did it well. The half drawn sword symbolises HEDDWCH! PEACE! nothing like the warmongering military royal family.

Shan Morgain
1 month ago

Tywysog Cymru/ Prince of Wales is Owain Glyndwr. When crossing the bridge over the Severn it’s open to each to think of whichever tywysog/ prince they like. Nice. As for the English royal family once Mrs Queen dies they should become a handful of 5 persons paid a stipend for ceremonial appearances to support trade and political stability. They should pay tax like everyone else.

Llinos
Llinos
1 month ago

I was in Caernafon last year and walking around the town and the castle I was struck by the number of flags on the buildings and in the harbour. Not one Union Jack. A dozen St David’s Crosses, a hundred Draig Gochs, and even more banners of the house of Aberffraw. For all the Norman and Victorian edifices and street names imposed on the area, an “investiture” in Caernafon would be met with contempt and opposition. The people of Gwynedd are lovely, welcoming people to those who come as friends. Those last six words are key.

Our Supporters

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