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Opinion

Why the Senedd should host William’s investiture

26 Sep 2022 5 minute read
William Price of Wales. Picture by Ian Vogler/Daily Mirror/PA Wire.

Theo Davies-Lewis

It was the most telling performance to gauge Charles III’s approach as monarch. At the Senedd, the King rose to address another parliament. He spoke in English, but then changed to Welsh. It was an impressive and moving bilingual speech. In just a few minutes the King evoked the memory of ancient native princes and celebrated the pride that makes Wales distinctive. No monarch in modern British history has understood and respected this country more.

Royal visits come normally with celebration and a tinge of protest in Wales. Republican activists outside Cardiff Castle, with placards in tow, were in the minority. Cheering crowds and Union Jacks were more likely to be seen on the roads that lined the route to Llandaff Cathedral and the Senedd. Irate as he may be to hear a jeer or heckle, King Charles III understands the complicated relationship between the Welsh people and the institution he now leads. A more historically acute – and very much live – tension than elsewhere in the UK.

Responsibility for managing this relationship now passes to the new Prince of Wales. And the debate, presided over by a cast ranging from Lord Elis-Thomas to Michael Sheen, has already started: over the role’s existence, its purpose and a possible investiture. Prince William, cognisant of his father’s experience and his own learnings from his time in Ynys Môn, says he wants to serve the country with “humility and great respect.” He will have to be well prepared to operate in a radically different country to the one his predecessor was introduced to half a century ago.

Caernarfon 1969 looks a distant memory, impossible to repeat for William’s investiture. Though opinion polls vary over whether a public ceremony should be held, what is certain is that the archaic pomp and regalia of Caernarfon would indeed jar with Welsh society as it has become. Not just with the democratic modern Wales that did not exist fifty years ago but the period of economic hardship the UK will face over the next 12 months. And more than before, such a ceremony would invite more well-organised and publicised protests that would overshadow the whole thing.

Low-key

Ghosts of history mean William will never win over some of the Welsh, no matter how Cymrophile he appears. 35,000 people have already signed a petition to rid of his title “out of respect for Wales”. The furore of the King’s visit to Wales on Owain Glyndŵr Day – even patriots must admit it was not a national day of collective celebration before, as much as it should be – unnecessarily irked many beyond the nationalist and republican movements.

But the contract between William and the Welsh is yet to be written. During and since the period of mourning, Plaid Cymru and Welsh Labour figures have interjected to draw up its terms in an unprecedented fashion. A national conversation must be had, the likes of Adam Price have said, to decide whether an investiture should take place at all. It will. Yet it is almost certain (and wise) that the Welsh government be consulted, and closely involved in its organisation.

The investiture will be a more low-key affair than any medieval madness. Cymraeg must take centre stage, and William must learn the language as a priority. He received lessons as a teenager at Eton, after the now King was anxious for him to become fluent in time for his investiture. The First Minister was generous when he told the BBC that people weren’t expecting “miracles” with the new Prince of Wales; true, but we deserve a bit of respect.

Investing a Prince and Princess of Wales will bring an added dynamic. Both should be at the heart of the ceremony, of course, but so should those societal leaders that were prominent during the King’s visit – the First Minister, Presiding Officer and Secretary of State – to show the democratic development of the country. The Senedd should host it.

Priorities

An investiture this time round will have to be more creative. A national performance – poets, singers and dancers – should be televised at Charles’s Carmarthenshire home Llwynywermod as part of other events beyond the main investiture, where Welsh culture can be showcased. Even republicans that may frown at Jubilee-type celebrations would relish a spotlight not on the Prince of Wales but the country he represents.

A tour of the country should follow. Beyond ‘Wales Week’, an annual series of events Charles started, this will ensure the investiture is not a one-off pageant but a period of deep engagement with the public and similar to the King’s own ‘tour of the nations’ after the Queen’s death. Though he will no doubt visit the country before, the Prince of Wales should take this opportunity to set out his own priorities and demonstrate his understanding of the country.

As a young man Prince William hinted he would be “seeing a lot” of Wales in the future. Indeed he has, and will do again soon. A national conversation about the new Prince and Princess’ roles in modern Wales will rightly take place. Charles navigated difficult terrain so skilfully because he was aware of the changing winds of the country, and appreciated its culture and history. William will have to do the same to succeed and much more.

Theo Davies-Lewis’ lecture, ‘William: The Last Prince of Wales?’, will be held on November 17 for WEA Llanelli at the Selwyn Samuel Centre


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Richard 1
Richard 1
2 months ago

Nauseating

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
2 months ago

Why? What is the purpose? There is no English Prince of the other countries in the UK, Scotland and Northern Ireland – why do we have one? Are we not a country too? Don’t they see the resentment no matter how secret the investiture?

Shân Morgain
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

Well said that man.

Hogyn y Gogledd
Hogyn y Gogledd
2 months ago

Theo DaviesLewis grew up in Llanelli and now lives in West London, where he works for the public relations consultancy Finsbury. His work involves helping high-profile businesses to build and protect their reputation, as well as supporting companies with crisis and strategic communications.”

Richard 1
Richard 1
2 months ago

Yes I saw that too; says it all

Paul
Paul
2 months ago

There shouldn’t be an investiture – it is a waste of time and money. “Prince of Wales” is not an office with actual functions like King or Prime Minister; it is an empty title like Duke of Sussex (there was no investiture in Sussex for Harry!).

Wales is not a principality, but if there was to be an investiture surely it should be in the former principality (north and west Wales), not in a former marcher lordship where the Princes of Wales never ruled.

WilliamsG
WilliamsG
2 months ago

Unbelievable! The English royal family spoke of the ‘Ancient Princes’ to try to imply they are in some way related to them, a blatant attempt to re-write history.

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
2 months ago
Reply to  WilliamsG

well I suppose it sounds slightly more credible than claiming you’ve been chosen by god?

Kathryn Gibson
Kathryn Gibson
2 months ago

This article comes across as a nauseating, paid for publicity piece. Totally unacceptable. There is no constitutional role for a ‘Prince of Wales’ no matter what gloss anyone wants to put onto it. It is a crafty move to pretend to give us a choice as to where we want the investiture to be. The question should be do we actually want any investiture now or at any time in the future. The purpose of giving the title as a mark of respect to the Leader of the people of Cymru is long, long past. And the past is where… Read more »

Linda
Linda
2 months ago

If William is keen to promote and showcase Wales, that is fine and up to him. He does not need a title to do so. The ‘Prince of Wales’ title is a misleading and insulting anachronism. Wales is a modern, democratic, dynamic nation – and needs no prince.

Frank
Frank
2 months ago

We live in a modern world. What happened eight or nine centuries ago does not apply any more and should have ceased when that generation died. No one has ever conquered me or you. Eternal dominance and stupid titles exist only in the heads of silly little royalists. Move on for goodness sake and stop play-acting and dressing up in drag costumes.

Maglocunos
Maglocunos
2 months ago

Dim diolch

.

Elaine
Elaine
2 months ago

The William who confirmed last week that he wouldn’t be giving up his position as President of the FA and would be enthusiastically cheering for England at the World Cup? That William?
Dim diolch.

Owain Morgan
Owain Morgan
2 months ago

No!! No to an investiture at the Senedd. No to an Investiture FULL STOP. I’m sick and tired of being slapped in the face by the English establishment. I’m not a subject and I’m not British! Respect us with maximum devolution and a Confederation of Nations or f**k off!! William Hanover is English and therefore not Welsh. He has no right to call himself Prince of Wales or Twysog Cymru. I don’t care what he does, as long as he doesn’t do it in Wales or with Welsh titles. Enough said!

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
2 months ago

No. No. No. This is a really bad idea. It suggests that the POW holds an office — a constitutional role — rather than being simply an honorific title. The Baron (Lebedev) of Hampton and Siberia holds no office or constitutional role in either Hampton or Siberia by virtue of his title. Likewise, the holder of the POW title in Wales.

Last edited 2 months ago by Cai Wogan Jones
notimejeff
notimejeff
2 months ago

Neither the coronation nor the investiture are constitutional requirements. Charles has been made king by the Accession Council and that’s all that’s needed. By convention William becomes PofW. Both events are a waste of millions of taxpayers’ money, something the monarchy has plenty of experience of doing.

hdavies15
hdavies15
2 months ago
Reply to  notimejeff

Even Boris couldn’t match the Monarchy’s ability to blow cash. However Truss looks like she is capable of chucking loot at her cronies and may hit heights hitherto unreachable. This AngloBrit loony self indulgence must be stopped or we’ll all be in the gutter.

Marc
Marc
2 months ago

Pass the sick bag 🤮

Richard
Richard
2 months ago

What a load of utter nonsense. As a title it has long since outlived any semblance of usefulness. William has shown no interest in Wales as Prince William of Wales and I doubt that will change as William, Prince of Wales. As for any investiture, why is it needed? Charles has already ‘made’ William prince. The letters patent will have been issued. The investiture is just a dress up occasion. Should one be held they could do it in Buck House. There is dim, zero, nill, nadda, reason to hold it in the Senedd. William holds no constitutional significance in… Read more »

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
2 months ago

I seriously hope this clown doesn’t get paid for writing this rubbish, we can get this free from walesonline or any of the many english media outlets

James Lewis
James Lewis
2 months ago

If the sham Investiture takes place in the Senedd then people should boycott our Parliament and our Parliamentarians through non-cooperation and refusing to vote in future elections. This sick joke is really getting out of hand.

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
2 months ago

What a deluded and sycophantic article.

Llewelyn Ein Llyw Nesaf
Llewelyn Ein Llyw Nesaf
2 months ago

Three years he lived in Môn.

Managed to learn “paned”.

Really says it all about his commitment.

Eifion
1 month ago

Chwarae teg rwan mae o wedi dysgu byrgyr hefyd yn y Fali .da iawn Wil y byrgyr!

Shân Morgain
1 month ago

Disgusting article. False “prince of Wales” is part of English conquest denying Welsh independence and dignity. Petition https://www.change.org/p/end-prince-of-wales-title-out-of-respect-for-wales?redirect=false

Karl
Karl
1 month ago

No thanks, we are already having funding cuts for our democracy forced upon us. Why should we pay for an English Prince to be forced upon us again. Leave dress up to Disney and our Senedd get on with governing.

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