How the King went from controversial figure to beloved Prince of Wales

As crowds turn out to welcome King Charles, how he has grown from a controversial Prince of Wales to a heralded monarch after a decades-long charm offensive involving university in Aberystwyth, learning the language and annual visits

  • King Charles is returning to Wales for the first time since his mother’s death 
  • Royal was created Prince of Wales when he was only nine years old in 1958 
  • Spent weeks learning Welsh ahead of his investiture ceremony in 1969  
  • The occasion was highly controversial and he wore a bulletproof vest 
  • Celebrated his 50th anniversary in the role in 2019 and went on tour of country 
  • Today he was greeted by cheers as he returned for the first time as King 
  • Prince William will now inherited the title, while his wife is Princess of Wales  
  • The Queen’s funeral: All the latest Royal Family news and coverage

King Charles visited Wales for the first time today since his mother’s death last week – in his first trip to the country since he passed on the title of Prince of Wales to his eldest son, William. 

It is a highly poignant trip for the royal, who held the title of Prince of Wales for the majority of his life, having been created the Prince of Wales by the Queen when he was only nine years old on July 26 1958.

But his time as Prince of Wales wasn’t without controversy. A then-20-year-old Charles wore a bulletproof vest for his formal investiture  with the title by his mother on July 1 1969 at Caernarfon Castle in north Wales due to fears of nationalist violence.

He has since shown his dedication to the country, with ongoing engagements and visits, as well as spending a couple of weeks a year at his £1.2 million Llwynywermod estate in Camarthenshire, close to Llanymddyfri, which he bought in 2007.

In 2019, he celebrated 50 years since his investiture as the Prince of Wales with a five day long tour of the country.

Meanwhile last year, it was Wales he chose to privately retreat to after the death of his father Prince Philip. 

And today, he returned to the country for the first time since his mother’s death – having handed over the title of Prince of Wales to his son Prince William last Friday.  

King Charles has returned to Wales for the first time since he handed the title Prince of Wales to his son Prince William – it was a title he received from the Queen at the age of nine (pictured) 

Charles learnt the Welsh language at Aberystwyth University before his investiture on July 1, 1969 (pictured) 

Having been given the title of Prince of Wales aged nine, it wasn’t till 11 years later when Charles had his investiture. 

In preparation, he spent ten weeks learning about Welsh culture, history and language, and during the ceremony he gave his replies in both English and Welsh. He also gave his speech in Welsh.

Staunch nationalist and republican Dr Tedi Millward taught the Prince of Wales ahead of his investiture in 1969, despite being arrested at a Welsh language protest in 1963.

He refused to attend the Prince’s controversial investiture at Caernarfon Castle, despite his role, for which he required stringent vetting by Special Branch. 

Meanwhile he and Camilla have spent lengthy periods in Wales, and often spend weeks each year at their home Llwynywormwood in Myddfai

Today, the monarch was warmly received as he arrived in the country for the first time since he had passed on the title 

The lecturer said in one of his last interviews: ‘The police had me in their black book so I was bit surprised when I was asked to teach him Welsh. The police interviewed me very sternly.

How William and Kate spent years preparing to be Prince and Princess of Wales

Prince William and Kate Middleton may have only officially become the Prince and Princess of Wales a few days ago – but the royal couple have long had a special connection with the country.

Sources said the new Princess ‘appreciates the history’ associated with the role of the Princess of Wales but wants to create her ‘own path’.

William and Kate’s bond with the country has been ongoing for years.

The couple, then unmarried, arrived in Anglesey in 2010, while William worked for RAF Valley.

In February 2011, Kate took part in her first official public engagement in the Welsh town.

It would see her launching a new lifeboat at the Trearddur Bay lifeboat station, near their Anglesey home

It was while living in Anglesey that the couple tied-the-knot just months later, before they welcomed their first son George, making Wales their first family home.

And it was Anglesey that Kate decided to take part in her first royal engagement after George’s birth.

When the couple announced their plans to leave in September 2013, William spoke passionately of his time on the island off the North-West coast of Wales.

‘I know that I speak for Catherine when I say that I have never in my life known somewhere as beautiful and as welcoming as Anglesey,’ he said.

 ‘Both of us will miss it terribly when my Search & Rescue tour of duty comes to an end.’

Since, they have returned to it regularly, with multiple visits in the past few years.

Meanwhile they later took the nine-year-old and his seven-year-old sister Charlotte on their first official engagement in the country.

 Prince William and Kate were joined by Prince George and Princess Charlotte as they brought the Platinum Jubilee celebrations to Wales while visiting concert rehearsals at Cardiff Castle.

Earlier this week, an insider said Kate ‘appreciates the history’ associated with the role of the Princess of Wales but wants to create her ‘own path’.

Kate, formerly known as the Duchess of Cambridge, will now hold the titles of the Duchess of Cornwall and the Princess of Wales – the first member of the Royal Family to hold the title since Princess Diana.

The royal source said: ‘The couple are focused on deepening the trust and respect of the people of Wales over time.

‘The Prince and Princess of Wales will approach their roles in the modest and humble way they’ve approached their work previously.’

‘When I met him I tried to be neutral, I just treated him the same as any other student.

‘I’m not particularly proud of being his Welsh teacher, it was forced upon me.’

‘I was not in favour of him becoming the Prince of Wales but I didn’t argue the point with him.

‘I got on quite well with him, he was good to get to know.

‘I found him intelligent and quite charming, we stayed in touch for a long time afterwards.’

Charles wore a bulletproof vest at his investiture ceremony due to fears of nationalist violence.

The day had started with news that two men had died in a gelignite explosion at Abergele, 15 miles from the castle. One of the men was tattooed on his chest and back with ‘Free Wales Army’. 

Then, a bomb blast at railway sidings rattled windows in the centre of Caernarfon 10 minutes after the arrival of the train carrying the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Charles and other members of the royal family.

A bomb in a suitcase, marked with the initials ‘FWA’, was later found on the road to Holyhead taken by the prince after the ceremony.

Princess Margaret’s then husband the Earl of Snowdon was responsible for the design of the setting in the castle in north Wales.

Charles’s regalia included the Investiture Coronet, Sword, Ring and Rod, and he was dressed in a long royal mantle or cloak of velvet and ermine.

A fresh-faced Charles knelt before the Queen to receive the insignia of office and pledge allegiance.

While the prince was saluted by cheering crowds showing their loyalty and affection, he also faced hostility from Welsh extremists who attempted to mar the investiture with bomb attacks.

Back in 1969, the prestigious ceremony was televised and watched by an audience of 19 million people in the UK, and millions more worldwide. 

The ceremony was a milestone in the modernisation of the Royal Family, a coronation spectacle designed not for the 4,000 invited guests but to be seen through the eye of a television camera by 500 million people worldwide.

In the years since then, Charles has continued to visit the country, both on official engagements and for holidays.  

In 2007, he bought the £1.2 million Llwynywermod estate in Camarthenshire, close to Llanymddyfri, after years spent trying to find ‘the right place’. 

He and Camilla now tend to spend a couple of weeks a year at the secluded and fully sustainable three-bedroom farmhouse. 

There are also two adjoining cottages, which sleep six and four respectively, in a courtyard which are available for holiday let. 

In 2019, he marked 50 years since his investiture as the Prince of Wales – with the now-King being the longest-serving holder of the title in history. 

To celebrate the golden jubilee, Charles spent the week in Wales with his wife, Camilla.

The royal couple were touring the country as they carried out more than 20 engagements over five days. 

The Queen and senior royals including William and Kate, and Harry and the Duchess of Sussex gathered in March for a Buckingham Palace reception marking the prince’s 50th anniversary of his investiture.

Charles pictured leaving the university with a worried looking principal Mr Thomas Parry in April 1969 

Prince Charles ended his nine-week term with a promise that he’d be back, as hundreds gathered outside the college to wave him off

Leading figures from Wales were also invited, including Falklands veteran Simon Weston, the band Stereophonics, Game Of Thrones star Owen Teale and First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford.

When his Welsh lecturer died in 2020, Charles said: ‘I am deeply saddened to hear of Dr Millward’s death.

‘I have very fond memories of my time in Aberystwyth with Dr Millward over 51 years ago.

‘While I am afraid I might not have been the best student, I learned an immense amount from him about the Welsh language and about the history of Wales.

‘After all these years, I am forever grateful to him for helping foster my deep and abiding love for Wales, her people and her culture. I send my most heartfelt sympathy to his family.’

Charles, (right) in an interview with British television presenter David Frost for, ‘A Prince For Wales’ a documentary commemorating his investiture as Charles, Prince of Wales at Caernavon Castle on 1st July 1969

The royal pictured with his father the Duke of Edinburgh shortly before his controversial investiture

Speaking about spending time in the country last year, Charles said told Poet Laureate Simon Armitage on BBC Radio 4 culhe enjoys spending time in the country and stomping around the Brecon Beacons, especially during the winter months.

Speaking of his Welsh home, he said: ‘I now, at last, have somewhere in Wales to base myself, from time to time.

‘Rather 40 years too late, probably. But it’s been a wonderful opportunity, at last, to have somewhere in Wales. I come whenever I can… I’ve always felt that it’s an important part of holding this particular title.

‘It took me years to establish somewhere, it wasn’t through want of trying but it was difficult to find the right place.

‘I used to go to different other houses which was very kind of people to lend them for a week or something, but it wasn’t the same thing obviously until finally we found this, which has been a Godsend really.’

Beaming with pride, the Queen presents Charles to the public as the Prince of Wales at Queen Eleanor’s Gate of Caernarfon Castle

After the ceremony, the Queen and the newly invested Prince of Wales parade through the castle

Princess Anne, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret during the ceremony. This being the summer of Woodstock, Princess Anne turned up in a turquoise mini-skirt

The newly invested Prince of Wales on the Snowdon-designed slate dais, beneath a 25ft perspex canopy

Charles added that part of the joy of owning the home has been getting to know some of the local people, adding that there are some ‘wonderful characters’ who are ‘very special’.

‘There’s always one trying to get me to buy his farm,’ he joked, putting on his best Welsh accent. ‘[He says] “you must buy my farm” – he’s a lovely character, we do have a good laugh.’

He told how over the years he has collected some ‘marvellous’ Welsh objects and quilts which he’s kitted the house out with so it feels ‘incredibly cosy’.

The grounds of the estate have been a ‘labour of love’ to try to ‘bring back to life’, Charles said.

‘I’ve tried to plant many more trees and generally love it back to life again, it was a bit battered,’ he explained.

‘There was an old estate here with a house that now is a ruin; I’m trying to grow things up it, apart from anything else it might hold it upright for a bit longer, but it also had an original old park so I’ve been trying to replant some of that, but it’s all been split up years ago.’

King Charles bought the £1.2 million Llwynywermod estate in Camarthenshire, close to Llanymddyfri, in 2007 after years spent trying to find ‘the right place’

It was Wales he retreated to to privately grieve the death of his father last April.

Daily Mail’s Dan Wooten reported a  grief-stricken Prince of Wales fled to Llwynywermod in Llandovery on his own within 24 hours of his father being laid to rest.

A source told him: ‘Charles felt he wanted to reflect alone. He also wants to attend to the thousands of letters sent to him in condolence of his father’s death.

‘He is acutely aware that this is a hugely significant moment in his life and he feels like he has the weight of the world of his shoulders.

‘All his life he has been heir to throne, but Prince Philip was the patriarch of the family.

In 2019, he marked 50 years since his investiture as the Prince of Wales – with the now-King being the longest-serving holder of the title in history (pictured, during a week long tour of the country at the time)  

‘Overnight that’s changed, and it’s impacted him both professionally and personally.

‘He needs time to think and contemplate the future of the Royal Family after what was a very difficult week.’

Today, King Charles III was greeted with cannon fire and cheers as he arrived on Welsh soil for the first time as monarch.

The former Prince of Wales and the Queen Consort landed just before 11.15am before getting into the waiting Royal limousine to take him to Llandaff Cathedral.

He flew by helicopter from Highrove, where he has spent the last 24 hours mourning his mother the Queen.

The Queen and senior royals including William and Kate, and Harry and the Duchess of Sussex gathered in March for a Buckingham Palace reception marking the prince’s 50th anniversary of his investiture (pictured)  

Thousands have gathered at Llandaff Cathedral and Cardiff Castle to greet the King, who was Prince of Wales for more than 53 years and whose mother the Queen will be buried with her wedding ring – made of Welsh gold – made so she would ‘always carry a piece of Wales’ with her.

As his car made its way to the cathedral, the streets were thronged with flag-waving well wishers who cheered the new monarch.

On arrival at the cathedral, His Majesty was warmly greeted by Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford and faith leaders before being ushered into the cathedral.

But there are also set to be protests during the King’s visit on what is Owain Glyndwr Day – celebrating the revered and last native Welshman to hold the title Prince of Wales who died in hiding from Henry V of England in 1415 after leading a battle for independence.

A silent demonstration will begin from 1pm at Cardiff Castle, organisers have said, but First Minister Mark Drakeford believes it will not disrupt the visit, claiming it will be a ‘footnote’ to the main proceedings.

He said: ‘People have a legitimate right to protest and there are a variety of views’. He also urged South Wales Police to deal with any protests in a ‘proportionate’ way and respect free speech.’

Today, King Charles III was greeted with cannon fire and cheers as he arrived on Welsh soil for the first time as monarch

Thousands have gathered at Llandaff Cathedral and Cardiff Castle to greet the King, who was Prince of Wales for more than 53 years and whose mother the Queen will be buried with her wedding ring – made of Welsh gold – made so she would ‘always carry a piece of Wales’ with her

Inside Charles’ £1.2 million Welsh bolthole: Stone cottage features pared-back decor and a stunning vaulted dining hall 

Photographs reveal the simple yet stunning £1.2 million Welsh bolthole owned by Charles and Camillal. 

Llwynywermod in Llandovery features a beautiful stone cottage which Charles fled to as he privately mourned the loss of his father Prince Philip last year.

Two properties on the estate are available to rent for holidaymakers, with a week’s stay at North Range or West Range costing up to £3,195 depending on the time of year.

Images shared by the couple shortly after they renovated the farmhouse in 2008 show its pared back interiors and simple yet stunning decor, including a beautiful vaulted dining hall. 

One of the guest bedrooms in the stunning £1.2 million Welsh home where Prince Charles went to stay after the death of his father Prince Philip 

Builders renovating the home in 2008 used sustainable products for the makeover and Camilla chose the colour scheme of duck egg blue, off whites and terracotta (pictured, the vaulted dining hall)

The home features a luxurious hallway complete with open beams, stable doors and a Welsh slate fireplace complete with Royal crest (pictured) 

Builders renovating the home used sustainable products for the makeover and Camilla chose the colour scheme of duck egg blue, off whites and terracotta.

The home features a luxurious hallway complete with open beams, stable doors and a Welsh slate fireplace complete with Royal crest.

Meanwhile giveaways as to the identity of the owners of the Welsh property are scattered throughout the home, including the eco-washing powder on the kitchen draining board and the carbon-friendly heating system.

The decor is austere – no frills with bare floors, traditional Welsh weavings on the walls and local pottery on the dresser.

There is believed to be no TV or DVD player in sight in the main house – instead there are ample books on local folklore and guides to local walks across the rolling countryside (pictured, the main reception room)  

The decor is austere – no frills with bare floors, traditional Welsh weavings on the walls and local pottery on the dresser (pictured, one of the spare bedrooms in the house) 

Meanwhile the simple cream colour-scheme also extends to the royal bathrooms, which features exposed wood beams and white panelling (pictured) 

Despite its simple decor, some elements of the home still have the grandeur of a royal estate (pictured, a large Cathedral style window in the dining hall) 

There is believed to be no TV or DVD player in sight in the main house – instead there are ample books on local folklore and guides to local walks across the rolling countryside.

And while there’s no royal garden, the property has its own 192-acre organic farm.

The biggest clue to the identity of the owners of the house is the three feathers crest of the Prince of Wales carved into Welsh slate above the huge fireplace.

The village is known for its peace and quiet, with the nearest shop is a mile away along with a Chinese takeaway and a fish and chip shop. 

 

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