The petition, posted to Change.org, has gathered more than 28,000 signatures as of publication time and is calling for the Prince of Wales title to be retired “out of respect” for the Welsh people, who have a fraught history with their English neighbours.
During King Charles’ first speech as monarch, the day after Queen Elizabeth died, he declared his eldest son and heir, William, the Prince of Wales. The title is traditionally held by the person who is next in line for the throne.
Charles also declared William’s wife, Kate, the Princess of Wales, marking the first time the title has been used since Princess Diana.
Friday, King Charles visits Wales for the first time as the new monarch.
Charles was the previous Prince of Wales and had held the title since he was nine. In 1969, when Charles was 20, his investiture as the Prince of Wales occurred at Caernarfon Castle, prompting protests and even a bomb threat from Welsh paramilitary group Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru.
The King’s decision to carry on with tradition and bestow these titles has sparked debate in the constituent country.
William and Kate are not native Welsh people and the petition argues that “To this day, the English ‘Princes of Wales’ have no genuine connection to our country.”
“The title has been held exclusively by Englishmen as a symbol of dominance over Wales,” the petition reads.
The petition’s author, Trystan Gruffydd, also argues that the Prince of Wales title undermines Wales as a country by implying that it is still a principality.
Gruffydd also writes that “Neither the Welsh parliament nor the people of Wales were notified, let alone consulted about this controversial decision” to continue with the title.
Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford said in an interview with Radio Cymru that he had not been told that King Charles was bestowing the Prince and Princess of Wales titles before the announcement.
Drakeford went on to say that debate about the titles would be “absolutely proper” but that it should come after an appropriate time following the queen’s funeral on Monday.
“We look forward to deepening our relationship with the new Prince and Princess,” Drakeford added.
The petition also quotes actor Michael Sheen during an interview with journalist Owen Jones. Sheen revealed to Jones that he had returned his Order of the British Empire award in 2017 after researching Welsh history for his Raymond Williams Memorial Lecture speech.
Sheen said in the interview that when King Charles becomes the new monarch, he should “make a break there. Put some things that have been the wrongs of the past right.”
“Don’t necessarily just because of habit and without thinking just carry on that tradition that was started as a humiliation to our country.”
The last time a Welsh person held the Prince of Wales title was in 1282, a whopping 740 years ago.
His name was Llywelyn Ap Gruffudd, also known as Llywelyn the Last, and he was killed by English soldiers during the conquest of Wales. The king at the time, Edward I, then bestowed the title to his son Edward II 30 years later.
William and Kate released a statement about the future of Wales in which they said they 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.”
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