Wales' royal connection

When Prince William took up his post at the RAF Search and Rescue Force Headquarters on Anglesey in 2010, it opened a new chapter in a story which spans many centuries – that of the close association between Wales and the British Royal Family. The wedding ring he gave Kate Middleton when they married on 29 April 2011 was made from a nugget of Welsh gold which has been reserved for royal rings since the 1920s. It originally came from the Clogau Gold Mine near Barmouth in the mountains of North Wales.

William & Kate

The White Eagle pub, Isle of Anglesey

In quiet times, William and Kate use to drop in at their local pub, The White Eagle at Rhoscolyn. This informal involvement in everyday island life couldn’t be more different from the way things were in the 13th century, when Anglesey’s strong royal connections began. In 1295, Edward I ordered the mass eviction of the villagers of Beaumaris on the island’s eastern shore to make way for the largest of his chain of castles. Now part of the UNESCO World Heritage site that also includes the walls and fortifications of Harlech, Caernafon and Conwy, Beaumaris Castle is considered the most sophisticated example of medieval military architecture.

The Tudors

Pembroke Castle, Pembrokeshire

 by Visit Pembrokeshire

Anglesey is also said to be the birthplace of the Tudor dynasty, since Henry Tudor was the direct descendant of a family called Tudur from Penmynydd, a few miles east of Beaumaris. The Tudur family tombs can still be found in the village church of St Gredifael’s, Penmynydd, where there’s also a stained glass window depicting three red Tudor roses. 

Henry was born in Pembroke Castle in 1457. In 1485, aged 28, he defeated Richard III in battle and was crowned King Henry VII.

Prince Charles

Prince Charles, has always maintained a close relationship with Wales. He studied Welsh history and language for a term at Aberystwyth University before being invested as Prince of Wales in the majestic setting of Caernarfon Castle in 1969, and currently tours the country most summers with his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

Stay in a royal cottage

The exterior of Llwynywermod, a white washed cottage set in a pretty court garden.

Llwynywermod, his Royal Highness The Prince of Wales' Welsh home in Carmarthenshire

 by Paul Highnam Photography
The Duchy of Cornwall owns a farm estate, Llwynywermod, in Carmarthenshire, with two lovely eco-cottages, North Range and West Range which have been beautifully renovated and decorated by craftspeople using traditional Welsh methods and materials. They’re available to rent when Charles and Camilla are not staying on the estate themselves.

A royal attraction

National Woollen Museum, Drefach Felindre, Carmarthenshire

Recently, Charles has visited the National Wool Museum as part of his campaign to support the wool industry, and has taken an active interest in Welsh food, speaking on the subject at the National Botanic Garden of Wales and visiting the Bodnant Welsh Food Centre, the restored Llanrhystud Mill in Felin Ganol, the award-winning Felinfoel Brewery in Llanelli and food shops New Celtic and Naturally Scrumptious in Aberaeron.

Royal places to stay

Ynyshir, Machynlleth, Mid Wales

To make your tour of Royal Wales complete, you could stay at one of the fine country house hotels in Wales which have royal connections. Plas Maenan Country House in the Conwy Valley near Llanrwst is an elegant Edwardian mansion owned by James Burt, a former member of the Queen’s household staff. It offers comfortable rooms, some with four poster beds, and wonderful views of rolling hillsides.

Other possibilities include Tre-Ysgawen Hall, a welcoming spa hotel which has hosted the Queen of Lesotho, or Plas Dinas near Caernafon, a former home of Princess Margaret that’s now a luxury country house hotel with boutique styling. Or there’s Ynyshir near Machynlleth, a Michelin star restaurant and rooms in an elegant mansion, which was once owned by Queen Victoria. The restaurant, which specialises in imaginative combinations of fresh Welsh ingredients, has a royal reputation.