Prince of Wales

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the current holder of the title Prince of Wales, see Charles, Prince of Wales. For other uses, see Prince of Wales (disambiguation).
Prince of Wales
Prince of Wales's feathers Badge.svg
HRH The Prince Charles, Prince of Wales
HRH The Prince Charles

since 26 July 1958
Style His Royal Highness
Residence Clarence House
Appointer Monarch of the United Kingdom
Term length Life tenure or until accession as Sovereign
Inaugural holder Dafydd ap Llywelyn

Prince of Wales (Welsh: Tywysog Cymru) is a title traditionally granted to the heir apparent of the British or English monarch. The current Prince of Wales is Prince Charles, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II, who is Queen of the United Kingdom and 15 other independent Commonwealth realms as well as Head of the 53-member Commonwealth of Nations.

Roles and responsibilities[edit]

The Prince of Wales is the heir apparent of the monarch. He has no formal public role or responsibility that has been legislated by Parliament or otherwise delegated by law. He does, however, carry out ceremonial visits and tours, representing the Sovereign when he or she cannot be or is not present.

Charles, like most previous Princes of Wales, is also Duke of Cornwall and therefore responsible for the duchy of Cornwall, a private estate that funds the activities of the heir to the throne.


The full armorial achievement of Charles, Prince of Wales

For most of the post-Roman period, the nation of Wales was divided into several smaller states. Before 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 Prince of Wales (see Brut y Tywysogion). In Latin, the new title was Princeps Walliae, and in Welsh it was Tywysog Cymru. The literal translation of Tywysog is "Leader". (The verb tywys means "to lead".)

Only a handful of native princes had their claim to the overlordship of Wales recognised by the English Crown. The first known to have used such a title was Owain Gwynedd, adopting the title Prince of the Welsh around 1165 after earlier using rex Waliae ("King of Wales"). His grandson Llywelyn the Great is not known to have used the title "Prince of Wales" as such, although his use, from around 1230, of the style "Prince of Aberffraw, Lord of Snowdon" was tantamount to a proclamation of authority over most of Wales, and he did use the title "Prince of North Wales" as did his predecessor Dafydd ab Owain Gwynedd.

In 1240, the title was theoretically inherited by his son Dafydd ap Llywelyn, though he is not known to have used it. Instead he styled himself as "Prince of Wales" around 1244, the first Welsh prince to do so. In 1246, his nephew Llywelyn ap Gruffudd succeeded to the throne of Gwynedd, and used the style as early as 1258. In 1267, with the signing of the Treaty of Montgomery, he was recognised by both King Henry III of England and the representative of the Papacy as Prince of Wales. In 1282, Llywelyn was killed during Edward I of England's invasion of Wales and although his brother Dafydd ap Gruffudd succeeded to the Welsh princeship, issuing documents as prince, his principate was not recognised by the English Crown.

Three Welshmen, however, claimed the title of Prince of Wales after 1283.

The first was Madog ap Llywelyn, a member of the house of Gwynedd, who led a nationwide revolt in 1294-5, defeating English forces in battle near Denbigh and seizing Caernarfon Castle. His revolt was suppressed, however, after the Battle of Maes Moydog in March 1295, and the prince was imprisoned in London.

In the 1370s, Owain Lawgoch, an English-born descendant of one of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd's brothers, claimed the title of Prince of Wales, but was assassinated in France in 1378 before he could return to Wales to claim his inheritance.

It is Owain Glyndŵr, however, whom many Welsh people regard as being the last native Prince. On 16 September 1400, he was proclaimed Prince of Wales by his supporters, and held parliaments at Harlech Castle and elsewhere during his revolt, which encompassed all of Wales. It was not until 1409 that his revolt in quest of Welsh independence was suppressed by Henry IV.

The tradition of investing the heir-apparent of the monarch with the title of "Prince of Wales" is usually considered to have begun in 1301, when King Edward I of England invested his son Edward Caernarfon with the title at a Parliament held in Lincoln. According to legend, the king had promised the Welsh that he would name "a prince born in Wales, who did not speak a word of English" and then produced his infant son, who had been born at Caernarfon, to their surprise. 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, and one reported version has the very specific phrase "born on Welsh soil and speaking no other language").

William Camden wrote in his 1607 work Britannia that originally the title "Prince of Wales" was not conferred automatically upon the eldest living son of the King of England because Edward II (who had been the first English Prince of Wales) neglected to invest his eldest son, the future Edward III, with that title. It was Edward III who revived the practice of naming the eldest son Prince of Wales which was then maintained by his successors:

But King Edward the Second conferred not upon his sonne Edward the title of Prince of Wales, but onely the name of Earle of Chester and of Flint, so farre as ever I could learne out of the Records, and by that title summoned him to Parliament, being then nine yeres old. King Edward the Third first created his eldest sonne Edward surnamed the Blacke Prince, the Mirour of Chivalrie (being then Duke of Cornwall and Earle of Chester), Prince of Wales by solemne investure, with a cap of estate and Coronet set on his head, a gold ring put upon his finger, and a silver vierge delivered into his hand, with the assent of Parliament.[1]

Nevertheless, according to conventional wisdom since 1301 the Prince of Wales has usually been the eldest living son (if and only if he is also the heir-apparent) of the King or Queen Regnant of England (subsequently of Great Britain, 1707, and of the United Kingdom, 1801). That he is also the heir-apparent 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; when Frederick, Prince of Wales died while his father reigned, George II created Fredrick's son (the king's grandson and new heir-apparent) George Prince of Wales. The title is not automatic and is not heritable; 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 to the new heir-apparent (such as the late prince's son or brother.) Prince Charles was created Prince of Wales on 26 July 1958,[2] some six years after he became heir-apparent, and had to wait another eleven years for his investiture, on 1 July 1969.[3]

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.

On 31 October 1460,[4] Richard of York was briefly created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester, Duke of Cornwall and Lord Protector of England by an Act of Parliament following the Act of Accord, as part of his arrangement to succeed Henry VI as king instead of Henry's own son.[5] However Richard was killed in battle soon afterwards.

Heraldic insignia[edit]

The "Prince of Wales's Feathers". This Heraldic badge of the Heir Apparent is derived from the ostrich feathers borne by Edward, the Black Prince. The German motto "Ich dien" means "I serve."

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.[6]

He has a badge of three ostrich feathers (which can be seen on the reverse of the previous design for 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" (German for "I serve"), see Prince of Wales's feathers.

Other titles and investiture[edit]

The Principality of Wales and Earldom of Chester must be created, and are not automatically acquired like the Duchy 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, Prince Frederick predeceased King George II, so Frederick's 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 of 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 Duchy 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 Caernarfon 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 versus heir presumptive[edit]

The title Prince of Wales is given only to the heir apparent—that is, somebody who cannot be displaced in the succession to the throne by any future birth. The succession had followed male preference primogeniture, which meant that the heir apparent was the eldest son of the reigning monarch, or, if he was deceased, his eldest son, and so on, or if the monarch's eldest son had died without issue, the monarch's second eldest son, etc. As such, a daughter of the sovereign who was next in line to the throne was never the "heir apparent" because she would be displaced in the succession by any future legitimate son of the sovereign, and could not therefore take the title.

On 28 October 2011, the leaders of all 16 Commonwealth realms agreed to end the practice of male primogeniture regarding heirs to the throne.[7] The Succession to the Crown Act 2013 was introduced on 12 December 2012, published the next day, and received Royal Assent on 25 April 2013.[8] It was brought into force on 26 March 2015,[9] at the same time as the other Commonwealth realms implemented the Perth Agreement in their own laws.[10] No woman has ever held the title Princess of Wales in her own right, although a female first child may one day hold that title.

Since the title of Prince of Wales is not automatic, there have been times where there was no Prince of Wales. There was no heir apparent during the reign of George VI, who had no sons. Princess Elizabeth was heiress presumptive, and was hence not eligible to be titled Princess of Wales. After it became unlikely that George VI would father more children, the option of bestowing the title of Princess of Wales was considered (but ultimately rejected, due in large part to a lack of enthusiasm for the idea from the heiress presumptive herself). There was also no Prince of Wales for the first several years of the reign of Elizabeth II. Prince Charles was not named Prince of Wales until 1958 when he was nine years old.

The title of Princess of Wales has always been held by the Prince's wife in her capacity as spouse of the heir apparent and therefore future queen consort. The current Princess of Wales is Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who automatically assumed the title upon her legal marriage to Charles, Prince of Wales. Camilla however has chosen not to be publicly known by the title due to its association with her predecessor, Diana.

List of Princes of Wales[edit]

Prince of Wales as independent title[edit]

Picture Name Heir of Birth Became Prince of Wales Ceased to be Prince of Wales Death Other titles while Prince of Wales Princess of Wales
Dafydd ap Llywelyn son of Llywelyn ab Iorwerth c. April 1212 11 April 1240; first documented use in 1244 25 February 1246 Prince of Gwynedd and of Aberffraw, Lord of Snowdon Isabella de Braose
Llywelyn the Last at Cardiff City Hall.jpg Llywelyn ap Gruffudd N/A
son of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn
c.1223 Succeeded Dafydd in 1246 as prince of Gwynedd; used title "prince of Wales" from 1258; recognised by Henry III 29 September 1267 11 December 1282
killed in battle
Prince of Gwynedd and of Aberffraw, Lord of Snowdon Eleanor de Montfort
Dafydd ap Gruffydd brother of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd c.1238 11 December 1282 3 October 1283
executed at Shrewsbury
Prince of Gwynedd and Aberffraw, Lord of Snowdon Elizabeth Ferrers

Prince of Wales as title of English or British heir apparent[edit]

Picture Name Heir of Birth Became Heir-apparent to the Throne Created Prince of Wales Ceased to be Prince of Wales Death Other titles while Prince of Wales Princess of Wales
1. Edward I and II.jpg Edward of Caernarfon
Edward II
Edward I 25 April 1284 19 August 1284 7 February 1301 7 July 1307
became King
21 September 1327 Count of Ponthieu, Earl of Chester
2. Plantagenet, Edward, The Black Prince, Iconic Image.JPG Edward of Woodstock, the Black Prince Edward III 15 June 1330 12 May 1343[11] 8 June 1376 Earl of Chester, Duke of Cornwall Joan of Kent
3. RichardIIWestminsterHead.JPG Richard of Bordeaux
Richard II
6 January 1367 8 June 1376 20 November 1376[11] 22 June 1377
became King
14 February 1400 Duke of Cornwall, Earl of Chester
4. Henry5.JPG Henry of Monmouth
Henry V
Henry IV 16 September 1387 30 September 1399 15 October 1399[11] 21 March 1413
became King
31 August 1422 Duke of Lancaster, Duke of Cornwall, Earl of Chester
5. Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York.jpg Richard of York Henry VI 21 September 1411 25 October 1460 31 October 1460[4] 30 December 1460 Lord Protector of England, Duke of Cornwall, Earl of Chester (all disputed with Edward of Westminster); Duke of York, Earl of Ulster, Earl of March, Earl of Cambridge, feudal Lord of Clare and Baron Mortimer of Wigmore Cecily Neville
6. Edward.4.plantagenet.jpg Edward of Westminster 13 October 1453 15 March 1454[11] 11 April 1471 Father deposed 4 May 1471 Duke of Cornwall, Earl of Chester
(all disputed with Richard Duke of York, 31 October–30 December 1460)
Anne Neville
7. King Edward V from NPG.jpg Edward
Edward V
Edward IV 4 November 1470 11 April 1471 26 June 1471[11] 9 April 1483
became King
1483? Duke of Cornwall, Earl of Chester
8. Edward of Middleham Richard III 1473 1483 24 August 1483[11] 31 March or
9 April 1484
Duke of Cornwall, Earl of Chester, Earl of Salisbury
9. Arthur Prince of Wales c 1500.jpg Arthur Tudor Henry VII 20 September 1486 29 November 1489 2 April 1502 Duke of Cornwall, Earl of Chester Catherine of Aragon
10. HenryVIII 1509.jpg Henry Tudor
Henry VIII
28 June 1491 2 April 1502 18 February 1504[11] 21 April 1509
became King
28 January 1547 Duke of Cornwall, Earl of Chester, Duke of York
11. Edouard VI Tudor.jpg Edward Tudor
Edward VI
Henry VIII 12 October 1537 [11] 28 January 1547
became King
6 July 1553 Duke of Cornwall, Earl of Chester
12. Henry Prince of Wales after Isaac Oliver.jpg Henry Frederick Stuart James I 19 February 1594 24 March 1603 4 June 1610[11] 6 November 1612 Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Chester, Earl of Carrick, Baron Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, Prince and Great Steward of Scotland
13. Charles I (Prince of Wales).jpg Charles Stuart
Charles I
19 November 1600 6 November 1612 4 November 1616[11] 27 March 1625
became King
30 January 1649 Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Duke of York, Duke of Albany, Marquess of Ormonde, Earl of Chester, Earl of Carrick, Earl of Ross, Lord Ardmannoch, Baron Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, Prince and Great Steward of Scotland
14. King Charles II by Adriaen Hanneman.jpg Charles Stuart
Charles II
Charles I 29 May 1630 declared c. 1638–1641[11] 30 January 1649
title abolished
(became King 1660)
6 February 1685 Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Chester, Earl of Carrick, Baron Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, Prince and Great Steward of Scotland
15. Prince James Francis Edward Stuart by Alexis Simon Belle.jpg James Francis Edward Stuart James II 10 June 1688 c. 4 July 1688[11] 11 December 1688
Father deposed
1 January 1766 Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Chester, Earl of Carrick, Baron Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, Prince and Great Steward of Scotland
16. George II of Great Britain - 1730-50.jpg George Augustus
George II
George I 10 November 1683 1 August 1714 27 September 1714 11 June 1727
became King
25 October 1760 Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Chester, Earl of Carrick, Earl of Milford Haven, Viscount Northallerton, Baron Renfrew, Baron Tewkesbury, Lord of the Isles, Prince and Great Steward of Scotland Caroline of Ansbach
17. Frederick Lewis, Prince of Wales by Philip Mercier.jpg Frederick Louis George II 1 February 1707 11 June 1727 8 January 1729[11] 31 March 1751 Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Duke of Edinburgh, Marquess of the Isle of Ely, Earl of Chester, Earl of Carrick, Earl of Eltham, Viscount Launceston, Baron Renfrew, Baron Snowdon, Lord of the Isles, Prince and Great Steward of Scotland Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha
18. George III As Prince of Wales.jpg George William Frederick
George III
4 June 1738 31 March 1751 20 April 1751 25 October 1760
became King
29 January 1820 Duke of Edinburgh, Marquess of the Isle of Ely, Earl of Chester, Earl of Eltham, Viscount Launceston, Baron Snowdon
19. George IV bust1.jpg George Augustus Frederick
George IV
George III 12 August 1762 19 August 1762[11] 29 January 1820
became King
26 June 1830 Prince Regent, Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Chester, Earl of Carrick, Baron Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, Prince and Great Steward of Scotland Caroline of Brunswick
20. Prince of Wales00.jpg Albert Edward
Edward VII
Victoria 9 November 1841 8 December 1841 22 January 1901
became King
6 May 1910 Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Chester, Earl of Carrick, Earl of Dublin, Baron Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, Prince and Great Steward of Scotland Alexandra of Denmark
21. George V of the United Kingdom01.jpg George Frederick Ernest Albert
George V
Edward VII 3 June 1865 22 January 1901 9 November 1901[12] 6 May 1910
became King
20 January 1936 Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Duke of York, Earl of Chester, Earl of Carrick, Earl of Inverness, Baron Renfrew, Baron Killarney, Lord of the Isles, Prince and Great Steward of Scotland Mary of Teck
22. HRH The Prince of Wales No 4 (HS85-10-36416).jpg Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David
Edward VIII
then Duke of Windsor
George V 23 June 1894 6 May 1910 23 June 1911 20 January 1936
became King
28 May 1972 Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Chester, Earl of Carrick, Baron Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, Prince and Great Steward of Scotland
23. Prince Charles 2012.jpg Charles Philip Arthur George Elizabeth II 14 November 1948 6 February 1952 26 July 1958 Incumbent Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Chester, Earl of Carrick, Baron Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, Prince and Great Steward of Scotland Lady Diana Spencer;
Camilla Parker Bowles (Camilla does not use title "Princess of Wales")
Picture Name Heir of Birth Became Heir-apparent to the Throne Created Prince of Wales Ceased to be Prince of Wales Death Other titles while Prince of Wales Princess of Wales

The oldest Prince of Wales (as the English and British heir apparent) at the start of his tenure was George Frederick Ernest Albert, later George V, who was 36 years, 5 months and 6 days old when he assumed the title. HRH The Duke of Cambridge will surpass this record if he is created Prince of Wales any time after 16 November 2018 (two days after his father's 70th birthday).

The longest-serving Prince of Wales was Albert Edward, later Edward VII, who served for 59 years, 1 month and 14 days. Charles Philip Arthur George, the longest-serving heir apparent and current Prince of Wales, will surpass this record if he remains the Prince of Wales until 10 September 2017.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Glamorganshire. Retrieved on 2012-07-15.
  2. ^ The London Gazette: no. 41460. p. 4733. 29 July 1958. Retrieved 2 September 2008.
  3. ^ "The Prince of Wales — Investiture". Retrieved 12 October 2008. 
  4. ^ a b Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume XII/2, page 908.
  5. ^ John Silvester Davies (1856). An English chronicle of the reigns of Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V, and Henry VI written before the year 1471: with an appendix, containing the 18th and 19th years of Richard II and the Parliament at Bury St. Edmund's, 25th Henry VI and supplementary a. Printed for the Camden Society. p. 109. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  6. ^ Prince of Wales. Retrieved on 15 July 2012.
  7. ^ – Girls given equal rights to British throne under law changes. (28 October 2011). Retrieved on 2012-07-15.
  8. ^ Succession to the Crown Act. Parliament of the United Kingdom.
  9. ^ Succession to the Crown Act 2013 (Commencement) Order 2015 at (retrieved 30 March 2015)
  10. ^ Statement by Nick Clegg MP, UK parliament website, 26 March 2015 (retrieved on same date).
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n l Previous Princes. Prince of Wales official website. Retrieved on 15 July 2013.
  12. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27375. p. 7289. 9 November 1901.

External links[edit]