The Investiture of Prince Charles, Prince of Wales
Mother and son, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles
Prince Charles is not a Welshman. However, he is the current Prince of Wales. I wonder how much this must stick in the throat's of Welsh people. Perhaps they are royalists and proud of him, but I doubt it.
My Mum was a great royalist and I well remember the investiture of Prince Charles, back in 1969.
These days the British Royal Family seem to get a mixed reception. They still have many admirers, and British citizens who extol their virtues. I am not one of them.
However, the Royals and Prince Charles are part of British people's lives. It seems fitting then that a Welsh based Hub should include a little of the current Prince of Wales and his investiture.
Prince Charles Investiture at Caernarfon Castle, Wales
The Prince of Wales has not been a very successful role. Prince Edward, a past Prince of Wales, was to abdicate the throne of England to marry his American love Wallace Simpson.
The current Prince of Wales, Charles, has had his fair share of controversy over the years. His ill fated marriage, to the lovely Princess Di, was fraught with many problems. His current marriage was not initially widely accepted.
However, when the investiture of Charles, as the Prince of Wales, took place he was only 20 years old.
The Investiture of the new Prince of Wales was a huge event, in its day. Most British households still only had black and white televisions but masses of people tuned in to watch the ceremony. Without the benefit of live television and the quick re-runs of today the whole event needed intense management.
Charles had already been proclaimed Prince of Wales when he was just nine years old in 1958. The investiture was the ceremony which confirmed this.
The title, Prince of Wales, was created back in 1267 by Llywelyn ap Gruffydd. After the conquest of Wales in 1282, the title has always been given to the eldest son of the King or Queen of the United Kingdom.
Prince Edward was the first to undergo this fancy ceremony at Caernarfon Castle, in Wales, in 1911. Although the ceremony was made to look as if it was something from past times it was actually a new concept. How times change. Fifty eight years later modernity was the order of the day.
Prince Charles investiture was somewhat of an updated version of the 1911 ceremony This time though various parts of the ceremony were changed in order to make it look modern and fresh. I suppose this is very much what you would expect from the sixties. As many of the youth of the day turned away from the Royalty, this was an attempt to popularize the Royals once again. In fact, there have been many of these types of attempts over recent years.
Lord Snowdon, a photographer, who at the time of the investiture was married to Princess Margaret, the Queen's sister was the designer of much of the event. His ideas for the ceremony included a simple slate dias, for the ceremony, which had a Perspex canopy. This modern material was used as it which would allow the TV cameras to capture the event, in all its glory.
With a global television audience of around 500 million the investiture was a remarkable event, for its day. Around 19 million viewers in Britain alone watched the investiture. I remember my Mum being enthralled and airing her hopes for Charles who would one day be our King. Well maybe he will not now but only time will tell.
With over 4,000 guests in the castle and 90,000 in Caernarfon, the event was historic and spectacular. This event remains the Welsh event which secured the largest Television audience, for Wales.
The investiture received a mixed reception by the people of Wales but it appears that the majority of Welsh people were happy with the event. The investiture was also partly a campaign to publicize Wales by the Labour Government of the day. With such a global audience it must certainly have done that.
Unfortunately for many of us teenagers, of the day, Charles came across as looking rather gawky and old fashioned. In some ways the Queen outshone him. Queen Elizabeth II was elegant and stylish as always.
These days the Investiture Ceremony can be found on YouTube
© 2010 Ethel Smith