A celebration of the strong connections between Wales and the British Royal Family.
It's in the jeans
In January 2018, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Dutchess of Sussex (then Ms Meghan Markle) made a visit to Cardiff when they were engaged. Further demonstrating her love of the country, Ms Markle chose to wear a pair of slim black jeans by the Welsh denim brand Hiut Denim.
Based in Cardigan, Hiut Denim is a small company founded by husband and wife David and Claire Hieatt. The team make every item by hand, which is no speedy process. After Ms Markle's visit, Hiut Denim had a three month waiting list on orders and had to increase their staff numbers and factory size to keep up with demand.
A prince's home
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 transforms into a popular holiday let.
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. You can buy Welsh gold for your own rings. If you want to pop the question to your beloved, why not try one of these romantic ways to do so in Wales?
For the early years of their marriage, William and Kate lived on Anglesey, where the prince worked as a search-and-rescue helicopter pilot.
Victoria's royal retainers
Queen Victoria’s knickers were supplied by Sir Pryce Pryce-Jones, who founded the world’s first mail-order company in Newtown, the 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, which is now a luxurious country hotel and Michelin star restaurant.
Henry Tudor's march to power
Henry Tudor (Harri Tudur in Welsh) was born at Pembroke Castle in 1457 and was a descendant of several Welsh royal houses. During the War of the Roses he fled to Brittany, returning with a small army that landed near Milford Haven. He gathered 5,000 more soldiers on his march through Wales then defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 to become Henry VII. The Tudors reigned for the next 120 years.
Despite his Welsh ancestry, his son 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, not even in his own family: his daughter Queen Elizabeth I apparently spoke fluent Welsh!
Hard-bitten Henry V
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. This helped him to defeat the French at the Battle of Agincourt during the hundred year war, at which Welsh archers played a crucial role.
Llywelyn's last stand
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 there to commemorate Ein Llyw Olaf ('Our Last Leader'), and an annual ceremony is held on the anniversary of his death.
Rebel with a cause
In the early 15th century, Owain Glyndŵr led a spectacular rebellion against the crown that briefly united Wales. He studied law in London and fought for the English king, then retired to his Welsh estates for a more peaceful life. At one point, he was drawn into land disputes with a neighbouring baron, and by 1400 it'd 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.