Wales’ connections to the Royal family

Where does Prince Charles go on his summer holidays? Where did William and Kate spend their first blissful years of married life? And where did Queen Victoria buy her knickers? Where else but Wales?

  • Owain Glyndŵr Statue in Corwen, Denbighshire
    Owain Glyndwr Statue, Corwen, North Wales Borderlands

    Owain Glyndŵr lead a spectacular rebellion against the crown that briefly united Wales in the early 15th century. He studied law in London, and fought for the English king before retiring to his Welsh estates to live out his life peacefully. But he was drawn into land disputes with a neighbouring baron, which by 1400 had grown into full-scale rebellion. His supporters proclaimed him Prince of Wales, and in 1404 Owain held his first Welsh parliament at Machynlleth. It wasn’t to last, but he was never betrayed or captured. He vanished in 1412, and is believed to have lived out his life in Herefordshire.

  • Memorial and standard of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd at Cilmeri, Mid Wales
    Memorial for Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, Cilmeri, Mid Wales

    Llywelyn ap Gruffydd was the last prince of an independent Wales before its conquest by Edward I. From his Gwynedd powerbase he controlled most of Wales, until he was killed in 1282 by English soldiers at Cilmeri. There’s a memorial stone commemorating Ein Llyw Olaf (‘Our Last Leader’) where an annual ceremony is still held on the anniversary of his death. 

  • The ruins of Monmouth Castle
    Monmouth Castle, Wye Valley by Howard Noyce

    Born in Monmouth Castle in 1386, Henry V spent much of his youth in Wales, fighting against the rebellion of Owain Glyndŵr. By the time Henry succeeded his father to the throne in 1413, he was a hard-bitten veteran of battle, which helped him to defeat the French at the Battle of Agincourt, at which Welsh archers played a crucial role.

  • Pembroke Castle

    Pembroke Castle, Pembrokeshire

     by Visit Pembrokeshire

    Henry Tudor was born at Pembroke Castle in 1457, a descendant of several Welsh royal houses. During the War of the Roses he fled to Brittany, returning with a small army, which landed near Milford Haven. He gathered 5,000 more soldiers on his march through Wales, and defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth to become Henry VII. The Tudors reigned for the next 120 years.

  • Henry VIII's iron grip

    Despite his Welsh ancestry, Henry VIII kept an iron grip on Wales. He passed the 1536 Act of Union, which legally incorporated Wales into England. The Act banned Welsh-only speakers from public office, but he didn’t manage to suppress the Welsh language, even in his own family: his daughter Queen Elizabeth I apparently spoke fluent Welsh! 

  • Interior of the Newtown Textile Museum, showing a loom and other equipment
    Newtown Textile Museum, Mid Wales

    Queen Victoria’s knickers were supplied by Sir Pryce Pryce-Jones, who founded the world’s first mail-order company in Newtown, capital of the Welsh flannel industry. His soft flannel knickers were favoured by many of the crowned heads (and bottoms) of Europe, including the Queen of Norway and the Empress of Russia. Queen Victoria no doubt wore hers on visits to her Welsh estate, Ynyshir Hall, which is now a luxurious country hotel. 

  • Golfers at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club

    Royal Porthcawl Golf Club, Bridgend

    Edward VII was a passionate golfer, and he granted Royal status to his two favourite golf courses in Wales: Royal Porthcawl and Royal St David’s. The King’s grandson, the future Edward VIII, was also a keen golfer, captaining Royal St David’s in 1934. 

  • A selection of traditional Welsh jewellery, many made out of rare Welsh Gold
    A selection of jewellery by Rhiannon Welsh Gold

    When Prince William slipped a wedding ring onto Kate Middleton’s finger in 2011, it was a band of pure Welsh gold, following in a tradition founded by The Queen Mother in 1923. Since then, all major royal weddings have been sealed with Welsh gold. For the early years of their marriage, William and Kate lived on Anglesey, where the prince worked as a search-and-rescue helicopter pilot.

  • The interior at Llwynywermod cottage sitting room with settee, cushions, table and large painting on the back wall.

    The interior of Llwynywermod

     by Paul Highnam Photography

    When Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall come to Wales on their annual summer tour, they stay at their Welsh farmhouse residence, Llwynywermod, near the village of Myddfai in Carmarthenshire. The 192-acre smallholding was renovated by skilled Welsh craftsmen and women, using local stone, slate and textiles, and the gardens and grounds are managed under organic principles. When the Prince and Duchess are not there, Llwynywermod becomes a highly desirable holiday let. 

This article is featured in Wales View 2014, download a pdf version or request a free postal copy