Prince of Wales
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The Heir Apparent to the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom (and formerly the Kingdom of Great Britain and before that the Kingdom of England) is traditionally invested with the title of Prince of Wales. The current Prince of Wales is The Prince Charles, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II.
 Roles and responsibilities
The Prince of Wales currently has no formal role or responsibility that has been legislated by parliament or otherwise delegated by the Monarchy. Prince Charles, as the 21st holder of the title has created the following three roles for himself: <ref>The Website of the Prince of Wales(Roles)</ref>
- (i) Undertaking royal duties in support of The Queen
- (ii) Working as a charitable entrepreneur
- (iii) Promoting and protecting nationalisation, virtues and excellence
For most of the post-Roman period, Wales was divided into several smaller states. Prior to 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 and 13th centuries this title evolved into that of Prince of Wales. In Latin, the new title was "Princeps Wallie", while in Welsh it was "Tywysog Cymru". The literal translation of "Tywysog" is "Leader" (The verb tywys means to lead). The translation as "Prince" was used by Englishmen to undermine the power of the rulers of Wales, causing them to appear inferior to the Kings of England (as a Prince is lower than the King in the hierarchy) .
Only a handful of native princes had their claim to be Prince of Wales recognized by the English Crown. In 1218 Llywelyn the Great had the title bestowed upon him and his successors by the 11-year old Henry III. It was inherited by his son Dafydd ap Llywelyn in 1240 and again by his nephew Llywelyn the Last in 1246. In 1282 Llywelyn was 'deposed' by Edward I of England and the title became dormant. Although Llywelyn ap Gruffydd was the last native Prince of Wales recognized by the English Crown, it is Owain Glyndŵr whom many regard as being the last native Prince. He was proclaimed Prince of Wales by his supporters on 16 September 1400, and his revolt in quest of Welsh independence was suppressed by Henry IV only in 1409.
The tradition of investing the heir of the monarch of Britain with the title of "Prince of Wales" began in 1301, when King Edward I of England, having completed the conquest of Wales, gave the title to his heir, Prince Edward (later King Edward II of England). According to a famous legend, the king had promised the rebellious Welsh natives that he would name "a prince born in Wales, who did not speak a word of English" and then produced his infant son to their surprise (and presumable chagrin); but the story may well be apocryphal, as it can only be traced to the 16th century. However, Edward II certainly was born at Caernarfon while his father was campaigning in Wales, and like all infants, could not at the time speak English. (Indeed, growing up in the royal court over the succeeding years his first language may well have been Norman French, not English.)
Since 1301, the Prince of Wales has usually been the eldest living son of the King or Queen Regnant of England (subsequently of Great Britain, 1707, and of the United Kingdom, 1801). The word "living" is important. Upon the death of Prince Arthur, the Prince of Wales, Henry VII invested his second son, the future Henry VIII, with the title. The title is not automatic, but merges into the Crown when a prince dies or accedes to the throne, and has to be re-created by the sovereign.
The Principality of Wales, nowadays, is always conferred along with the Earldom of Chester. The convention began only 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.
 Heraldic insignia
As heir apparent to his mother or father the reigning sovereign, the Prince of Wales bears the Royal Arms differenced by a white label of three points, like any eldest son. 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.
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.
 Other titles and investiture
The Principality of Wales and Earldom of Chester must be created, and are not automatically acquired like the Dukedoms of Cornwall and Rothesay, which are the Heir Apparent's titles in England and Scotland, respectively (note: the heir apparent is not necessarily Duke of Cornwall, see Duke of Cornwall for more details). The dignities are not hereditary, but may be re-created if the Prince of Wales predeceases the King. For example, when Prince Frederick, Prince of Wales predeceased King George II, his eldest son, Prince George (the future George III) was created Prince of Wales.
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 Caernarvon Castle in Wales. The present Prince of Wales was also invested there, in 1969. During the reading of the letters patent creating the Principality, 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" vs. "Heir Presumptive"
It should be noted that the title Prince of Wales was only given to the heir apparent—that is, a male who cannot be displaced in the succession to the throne by any future birth. This would be the oldest son of a monarch, or if they are deceased, their oldest son, and so on, or if the monarch's son has died without issue, the monarch's second oldest son, etc. Daughters and siblings of the sovereign may be displaced in the succession by younger male relatives and so are considered only the "heir presumptive." Hence, Elizabeth, the current queen, was never "princess of Wales," as the title only went to males, and was never heir apparent, as (in theory) until the death of her father the king, he might have sired a son who would have preceded her to the throne.
 Princes of Wales, past and present
The holders of the title have been:
 See also
- List of rulers of Wales
- Kings of the Britons
- Princess of Wales
- Prince of Wales tea blend
- Ships of the Royal Navy named HMS Prince of Wales.
- Prince of Wales, convict transport ship on First Fleet to Australia.
- Prince of Wales Bridge, Ontario, Canada
 External links
- The Prince of Wales (official website)
- Monarchy Wales - leading campaign organisation
- The Prince's Official Canadian Visit (2001)
- "Saskatchewan Honours Future King" (2001)
- The Straight Dope: How can I become Prince of Wales?
- Big Picture TV Free video clip of Prince Charles, HRH The Prince of Wales
- The Royal Family Tree of Europe
- Portrait of The Prince of Wales by David Griffiths