Prince of Wales

Prince of Wales

Prince of Wales ( _cy. Tywysog Cymru) is a title traditionally granted to the Heir Apparent to the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom (and formerly the Kingdom of Great Britain and before that the Kingdom of England). The current Prince of Wales is Prince Charles, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II.

Roles and responsibilities

The Prince of Wales currently has no formal role or responsibility that has been legislated by Parliament or otherwise delegated by the Monarchy. Prince Charles, as the 21st holder of the title has created the following three roles for himself: [ [ The Website of the Prince of Wales(Roles)] ]

# Undertaking royal duties in support of The Queen
# Working as a charitable entrepreneur
# Promoting and protecting nationalisation, virtues and excellence.


For most of the post-Roman period, Wales was divided into several smaller states. Prior to the Norman conquest of England, the most powerful Welsh ruler at any given time was generally known as King of the Britons. In the 12th century and the 13th century, this title evolved into that of Prince of Wales.Fact|date=October 2008 In Latin, the new title was "Princeps Wallie", while in Welsh it was "Tywysog Cymru". The literal translation of "Tywysog" is "Leader" (The verb "tywys" means "to lead", which shares a common root with the modern Irish for prime minister, the Taoiseach).

Only a handful of native princes had their claim to be Prince of Wales recognized by the English Crown. In 1218, Llywelyn the Great had the title bestowed upon him and his successors by his half-brother-in-law, the 11-year old Henry III. In 1240, the title was inherited by his son Dafydd ap Llywelyn and, in 1246, by his nephew Llywelyn the Last (or Llywelyn ap Gruffydd). In 1282, Llywelyn was 'deposed' by Edward I of England and the Prince of Wales title became dormant. Although Llywelyn ap Gruffydd was the last native Prince of Wales recognized by the English Crown, it is Owain Glyndŵr whom many Welsh people regard as being the last native Prince. On September 16, 1400, he was proclaimed Prince of Wales by his supporters and it was not until 1409 that his revolt in quest of Welsh independence was suppressed by Henry IV. The tradition of investing the heir of the monarch of Britain with the title of "Prince of Wales" began in 1301, when King Edward I of England, having completed the conquest of Wales, gave the title to his heir, Prince Edward (later King Edward II of England).

According to a famous legend, the king had promised the rebellious Welsh natives that he would name "a prince born in Wales, who did not speak a word of English" and then produced his infant son to their surprise (and presumable chagrin). However, the story may well be apocryphal, as it can only be traced to the 16th century, and, in the time of Edward I, the English aristocracy spoke Norman French, not English (some versions of the legend include lack of knowledge in "both" languages as a requirement). However, Edward II certainly "was" born at Caernarfon while his father was campaigning in Wales, and like all infants, could not at the time speak English.

Since 1301, the Prince of Wales has usually been the eldest living son of the King or Queen Regnant of England (subsequently of Great Britain, 1707, and of the United Kingdom, 1801). The word "living" is important. Following the death of Prince Arthur, the Prince of Wales, Henry VII invested his second son, the future Henry VIII, with the title--although only after it was clear that Arthur's wife, Catherine of Aragon, was not pregnant. The title is not automatic; it merges into the Crown when a prince accedes to the throne, or lapses on his death leaving the sovereign free to re-grant it should another candidate qualify, such as an heir-apparent other than the eldest living son, such as that deceased eldest son's eldest son (for example, George III).

The Principality of Wales, nowadays, is always conferred along with the Earldom of Chester. The convention began in 1399; all previous Princes of Wales also received the earldom, but separately from the Principality. Indeed, before 1272 a hereditary and not necessarily royal Earldom of Chester had already been created several times, eventually merging in the crown each time. The earldom was recreated, merging in the Crown in 1307 and again in 1327. Its creations since have been associated with the creations of the Principality of Wales.

Heraldic insignia

As heir apparent to the reigning sovereign, the Prince of Wales bears the Royal Arms differenced by a white label of three points. To represent Wales he bears the Coat of Arms of the Principality of Wales, crowned with the heir-apparent's crown, on an inescutcheon-en-surtout. This was first used by the future King Edward VIII in 1910, and followed by the current Prince of Wales, Prince Charles. [ [ Prince of Wales] ]

He has a badge of three ostrich feathers (which can be seen on the reverse of all decimal British two pence coins dated up to 2008); it dates back to the Black Prince and is his as the English heir even before he is made Prince of Wales.

In addition to these symbols used most frequently, he has a special standard for use in Wales itself. Moreover, as Duke of Rothesay he has a special coat of arms for use in Scotland (and a corresponding standard); as Duke of Cornwall the like for use in the Duchy of Cornwall. Representations of all three may be found at List of British flags.

For theories about the origin of the ostrich feather badge and of the motto "Ich dien", see Prince of Wales's feathers.

Other titles and investiture

The Principality of Wales and Earldom of Chester must be created, and are not automatically acquired like the Dukedom of Cornwall, which is the Heir Apparent's title in England, and the Dukedom of Rothesay, Earldom of Carrick, and High Stewardship of Scotland, which are the Heir Apparent's titles in Scotland. The dignities are not hereditary, but may be re-created if the Prince of Wales predeceases the King. For example, when Prince Frederick, Prince of Wales predeceased King George II, his eldest son, Prince George (the future George III) was created Prince of Wales. The heir apparent is only Duke of Cornwall if he is the sovereign's eldest living son; hence the future George III, grandson of George II, did not receive this title. See Duke of Cornwall for more details.

If holder of the Dukedom of York, the traditional title for the monarch's second son, becomes Heir Apparent on the death of an older brother, he is entitled to retain that title. Prince Henry (later Henry VIII), Prince Charles (later Charles I) and Prince George (later George V) were all second sons, and were therefore already Duke of York when they received the Principality of Wales.

Following the reversion to the Earldom of Chester to the crown, in 1254 Henry III passed the Lordship of Chester (but not the title of Earl) to his son Edward, who as Edward I bestowed the Earldom of Chester on his son Edward when he created him the first Prince of Wales in 1301. The Dukedom of Cornwall was first created by Edward III for his son Edward, the Black Prince in 1337.

The Earldom of Carrick merged into the crown of Scotland with the accession in 1306 of the Earl of Carrick, Robert the Bruce, who transferred the title to his son David in 1328 (the title became automatically subsidiary to the Dukedom of Rothesay in 1469); the High Stewardship merged into the crown with the accession of Robert, 7th High Steward of Scotland as Robert III in 1371; the Dukedom of Rothesay was created by Robert III of Scotland for his son David in 1398. All three of these titles merged with the Principality in the same person after the personal union of the Scottish and English crowns in 1603 with the accession of James VI of Scotland as James I of England, with the first Prince of Wales to receive them being his son Henry Frederick (subsequently an incorporating union created a single British crown in 1707).

Princes of Wales may be invested, but investiture is not necessary to be created Prince of Wales. Peers were also invested, but investitures for peers ceased in 1621, during a time when peerages were being created so frequently that the investiture ceremony became cumbersome. Most investitures for Princes of Wales were held in front of Parliament, but in 1911, the future Edward VIII was invested in Caernarvon Castle in Wales. The present Prince of Wales was also invested there, in 1969. During the reading of the letters patent creating the Prince, the Honours of the Principality of Wales are delivered to the Prince. The coronet of the heir-apparent bears four-crosses pattée alternating with four fleurs-de-lis, surmounted by a single arch (the Sovereign's crowns are of the same design, but use two arches). A gold rod is also used in the insignia; gold rods were formally used in the investitures of dukes, but survive now in the investitures of Princes of Wales only. Also part of the insignia are a ring, a sword and a robe.

"Heir Apparent" vs. "Heir Presumptive"

The title Prince of Wales is given only to the heir apparent—that is, a male who cannot be displaced in the succession to the throne by any future birth. This would be the eldest son of the monarch, or, if he is deceased, "his" eldest son, and so on, or if the monarch's son has died without issue, the monarch's second eldest son, etc.

In countries that practice male primogeniture, a daughter or sibling of the sovereign who is currently next in line to the throne is not the "heir apparent" because they would be displaced in the succession by any future legitimate son of the sovereign: they are instead the "heir presumptive" and cannot therefore take the title of Prince (or Princess) of Wales in their own right. Hence there was no heir apparent during the reign of George VI, who had no sons: Princess Elizabeth was an heir presumptive, and was hence not eligible to be titled Princess of Wales (the option of bestowing that title on her was considered and rejected).

List of Princes of Wales

Prince of Wales as independent title

Modern princes of Wales


ee also

*List of rulers of Wales
*Kings of the Britons
*Princess of Wales
*Duke of Cornwall
*Duke of Rothesay
*List of heirs to the English and British thrones
*Princes of Wales' Consent
*Prince of Wales tea blend
*Ships of the Royal Navy named HMS "Prince of Wales".
*"Prince of Wales", convict transport ship on First Fleet to Australia.
*Prince of Wales Bridge, Ontario, Canada
*Prince of Wales Secondary

External links

* [ The Prince of Wales] (official website) which includes a [ list of and history of previous Princes of Wales] since Llewelyn ap Gruffydd (aka Llewelyn the Last).
* [ Monarchy Wales - leading campaign organisation]
* [ The Prince's Official Canadian Visit (2001)]
* [ "Saskatchewan Honours Future King" (2001)]
* [ The Straight Dope: How can I become Prince of Wales?]
* [ The Royal Family Tree of Europe]
* [ Portrait of The Prince of Wales by David Griffiths]
* [ Painting & Patronage]

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Prince of Wales — 〈[prı̣ns ɔf wɛılz] m.; ; unz.; Titel für〉 engl. Kronprinz * * * Prince of Wales   [ prɪns əv weɪlz, englisch »Fürst von Wales«], Titel des walisischen Fürsten Llywelyn ap Gruffydd (* 1246, ✝ 1282), der im Kampf gegen die Engländer fiel; 1301 vom… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Prince of Wales — Prince Prince, n. [F., from L. princeps, cipis, the first, chief; primus first + capere to take. See {Prime}, a., and {Capacious}.] 1. The one of highest rank; one holding the highest place and authority; a sovereign; a monarch; originally… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Prince of Wales — [ prins əv weilz] der; <engl. ; eigtl. »Fürst von Wales«, zu prince »König, Fürst«, dies über altfr. prince »Prinz, Fürst« aus lat. princeps, vgl. ↑Prinzeps> Prinz von Wales (Titel des britischen Thronfolgers) …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • Prince of Wales — [ˌprıns əv ˈweılz] n the Prince of Wales a title given to the first son of a British king or queen …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Prince of Wales — 〈[prı̣ns ɔf wɛılz] m.; Gen.: ; Pl.: unz.; Titel für〉 engl. Kronprinz [Etym.: engl., »Prinz von Wales«] …   Lexikalische Deutsches Wörterbuch

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  • Prince of Wales — Prince′ of Wales′ n. 1) gov a title conferred by the British sovereign on the male heir apparent, usu. the eldest son 2) geg Cape, a cape in W Alaska, on Bering Strait: the westernmost point of North America …   From formal English to slang

  • Prince of Wales — [ prɪns ve:ls ], der; (Titel des britischen Thronfolgers) …   Die deutsche Rechtschreibung

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