Why is there a Prince of Wales? Petition to end title reaches 19k signatures

·5-min read
William has controversially been named the new Prince of Wales (Ben Birchall/PA Archive)
William has controversially been named the new Prince of Wales (Ben Birchall/PA Archive)

A petition calling to end the Prince of Wales title has amassed nearly 20,000 signatures after King Charles III declared his son Prince William to be the Prince of Wales.

It’s a title that Charles himself had held since he was nine years old.

The King also declared William’s wife Catherine to be the Princess of Wales, which is the first time someone has held the title since Princess Diana, as Camilla didn’t use the title out of respect.

Kensington Palace said the Prince expressed that he and Catherine would “do their part to support the aspirations of the Welsh people“.

The prince and princess look forward to celebrating Wales’s proud history and traditions as well as a future that is full of promise,” the palace said.

“They will seek to live up to the proud contribution that members of the Royal family have made in years past.”

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex join The Prince and Princess of Wales greeting the public at Windsor in tribute to HM Queen Elizabeth II

The Princess of Wales, the Prince of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex meeting members of the public at Windsor Castle in Berkshire following the death of Queen Elizabeth I (PA)
The Princess of Wales, the Prince of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex meeting members of the public at Windsor Castle in Berkshire following the death of Queen Elizabeth I (PA)
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince William, Prince of Wales and Catherine, Princess of Wales look at floral tributes laid by members of the public on the Long walk at Windsor Castle (Getty Images)
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince William, Prince of Wales and Catherine, Princess of Wales look at floral tributes laid by members of the public on the Long walk at Windsor Castle (Getty Images)
The Princess of Wales, the Prince of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex walk to meet members of the public at Windsor Castle in Berkshire following the death of Queen Elizabeth II (PA)
The Princess of Wales, the Prince of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex walk to meet members of the public at Windsor Castle in Berkshire following the death of Queen Elizabeth II (PA)
Britain’s Prince William and Kate, Princess of Wales, left, and Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex walk to greet the crowds after viewing the floral tributes for the late Queen Elizabeth II outside Windsor Castle (AP)
Britain’s Prince William and Kate, Princess of Wales, left, and Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex walk to greet the crowds after viewing the floral tributes for the late Queen Elizabeth II outside Windsor Castle (AP)
Prince of Wales, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, look at floral tributes as they walk outside Windsor Castle, following the passing of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, in Windsor (REUTERS)
Prince of Wales, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, look at floral tributes as they walk outside Windsor Castle, following the passing of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, in Windsor (REUTERS)
Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, greet people as they walk outside Windsor Castle, following the passing of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth (REUTERS)
Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, greet people as they walk outside Windsor Castle, following the passing of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth (REUTERS)
Prince William, Prince of Wales and Catherine, Princess of Wales speak with members of the public on the Long walk at Windsor Castle (Getty Images)
Prince William, Prince of Wales and Catherine, Princess of Wales speak with members of the public on the Long walk at Windsor Castle (Getty Images)
Crowds wait to meet the Duke of Sussex, Duchess of Sussex, Prince of Wales and Princess of Wales at Windsor Castle in Berkshire following the death of Queen Elizabeth II (PA)
Crowds wait to meet the Duke of Sussex, Duchess of Sussex, Prince of Wales and Princess of Wales at Windsor Castle in Berkshire following the death of Queen Elizabeth II (PA)
The Duchess of Sussex meeting members of the public at Windsor Castle in Berkshire following the death of Queen Elizabeth II (PA)
The Duchess of Sussex meeting members of the public at Windsor Castle in Berkshire following the death of Queen Elizabeth II (PA)
Harry and Meghan view the floral tributes for the Queen outside Windsor Castle (AP) (AP)
Harry and Meghan view the floral tributes for the Queen outside Windsor Castle (AP) (AP)
Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, greets people gathered outside Windsor Castle, following the passing of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth (REUTERS)
Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, greets people gathered outside Windsor Castle, following the passing of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth (REUTERS)

But the Prince of Wales title is considered to be controversial, as many people believe it is disrespectful to the people of Wales.

The petition calling to end the title states: “The title remains an insult to Wales and is a symbol of historical oppression. The title also implies that Wales is still a principality, undermining Wales’s status as a nation and a country.

“In addition, the title has absolutely no constitutional role for Wales, which is now a devolved country with a national Parliament.

“Whatever your political views, this is an important step for us of all in Wales.”

It also quoted actor Michael Sheen, who said: “Make a break there. Put some things that have been the wrongs of the past right.

“There’s an opportunity to do that at that point. Don’t necessarily just because of habit and without thinking just carry on that tradition that was started as a humiliation to our country.

“Why not change that as we come to this moment where things will inevitably change.”

Prince William: Official photographs

Just browsing: Prince William selects his reading matter during a break from his end of year exams at St Andrews University <br></br>© PA:
Just browsing: Prince William selects his reading matter during a break from his end of year exams at St Andrews University

© PA:
Sweet tooth? Prince William stocks up on standard student fare of crisps and chocolate<br></br>© PA:
Sweet tooth? Prince William stocks up on standard student fare of crisps and chocolate

© PA:
All change: Prince William pays for his purchases<br></br>© PA:
All change: Prince William pays for his purchases

© PA:
Swing when you're winning: Prince William practises his golf swing<br></br>© PA:
Swing when you're winning: Prince William practises his golf swing

© PA:

One supporter of the petition said, “Time for Welsh independence,” while another said, “The title is an insult to Wales.”

Political commentator Owen Williams said: “The ‘Prince of Wales’ title has been held exclusively by Englishmen as a symbol of dominance over Wales.

“To this day, such Princes of Wales have no genuine connection to our country. The title remains an insult to Wales. It should end.”

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said: “There will be time, in due course, for a public debate surrounding the title of the Prince of Wales.

“It is Plaid Cymru’s long-held view that it should be the people’s democratic right to have a final say on this matter in an independent Wales.”

However, First Minister Mark Drakeford said that now isn’t the time to debate the future of the title.

He said: “I think there is a debate there to be had, and it is absolutely proper. I don’t think the debate needs to come to a climax in this week of all weeks.

“If I were asked for advice, [it would be] that the new Prince of Wales takes the time he needs.

“To think through what he would wish to achieve, to give himself the opportunity to become better acquainted with the Wales of today.”

But why is the Prince of Wales title considered to be disrespectful?

Historically, the Prince of Wales title was held by native princes of Wales, the most-ancient Britons.

The last native prince of an independent Wales, Llywelyn the Last, was killed by English soldiers in 1282, during a war in which Wales fought for its national identity and resisted against English law being imposed upon Welsh citizens.

Prince Charles at 70: the official portraits

The Prince of Wales poses for an official portrait to mark his 70th Birthday in the gardens of Clarence House, with his wife Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Willliam Duke of Cambridge, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis, Prince Harry Duke of Sussex and Meghan Duchess of Sussex (Chris Jackson/AP)
The Prince of Wales poses for an official portrait to mark his 70th Birthday in the gardens of Clarence House, with his wife Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Willliam Duke of Cambridge, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis, Prince Harry Duke of Sussex and Meghan Duchess of Sussex (Chris Jackson/AP)
The second of two official portraits released to celebrate Prince Charles's 70th birthday. (Chris Jackson/AP)
The second of two official portraits released to celebrate Prince Charles's 70th birthday. (Chris Jackson/AP)

(In 1400, Owain Glyndŵr instigated the Welsh Revolt against the rule of Henry IV of England and his supporters declared him Prince of Wales. However, the uprising was ultimately unsuccessful.)

Following Llywelyn the Last’s death, the Principality of Wales was incorporated into England.

King Edward I then declared his son (later Edward II), to be the first non-native Prince of Wales, to assert English sovereignty. Since then, it has been used by the heir apparent to the English throne and, later, when the country was united, the British throne.

King Charles III’s investiture as Prince of Wales took place in Caernarfon in 1969, and there were protests against his investiture at the time, from people in Wales.

Charles declaring William to be the Prince of Wales happened sooner than expected, and it was thought that the new King may have discussed the title with the Welsh Government beforehand.

However, Drakeford said he was not informed of the appointment beforehand.

Prince William, who served with the RAF on Anglesey and is patron of the Welsh Rugby Union, is now expected to build relationships with Welsh organisations, businesses, and charities, as the Prince of Wales.