Prince of Wales

Title given to the Heir to the British Throne

Prince of Wales

prince of wales feathers


Prince Charles is the 21st holder of  the title which began in 1301, when Edward I formally created his son - destined
to be Edward II - Prince of Wales. The title is intended for the male heir apparent to the throne, but is an appointment, rather than a birthright. In fact every male heir to the British throne has been given the title

The title is often vacant, for example, when the present Queen came to the throne in 1952, there had been no holder since King Edward VIII, who held the title from 1911 to 1936 (when he came to the throne, and ceased to be heir to the throne) The Queen gave Prince Charles the title of  in 1958 when he was 9 years old, and apparently considered old enough to understand the significance of the role

The Crest of three ostrich plumes
The badge comprises three silver (or white) feathers rising through a gold coronet of alternate crosses and fleur-de-lys. The motto "Ich Dien" (I serve) is on a dark blue ribbon beneath the coronet.

The Crest of three ostrich plumes  were from to the House of Hainault, from which Edward the Black Prince's mother came. And the motto "Ich Dien" formed part of the arms of the King of Bohemia (nobody seems to know how he entered the scene).In any event, Edward the Black Prince used them at the Battle of Crecy and they became associated with the title

Edward III became Prince in 1343, attracted thousands of Welshmen to join him to fight in the French wars.In fact, a quarter of Edward's troops were composed of Welsh archers and spearmen.

The feathers were then adopted by the honourable Society of Cymmrodorion in 1751, and today they are  the badge of the Welsh National Rugby Union team .

Previous Princes

Llewelyn ap Gruffydd
Llewelyn ap Gruffydd, the last native Prince. Llewelyn the Last (1248-82) had declared himself Prince of Wales in 1258 as he tried to regain territories surrendered to the English after the death of his uncle, Llewelyn the Great (1194-1240)
Edward of Caernarfon
The title was recreated in 1301 for Edward of Caernarfon, the future Edward II. It was the first time the eldest son of
the King of England was invested as Prince of Wales, making Edward II the first of the current line of Princes of Wales,  Edward was born at Caernarfon in North Wale, and was invested with the title in 1301 at the age of 16. He acceded the throne as Edward II on June 8, 1307.
Edward, the Black Prince

Edward did not pass his Welsh title to his son, Edward III. But to his grandson, another Edward, the Black Prince. He got the title at the age of 12 in 1343. Since then, it has been traditional for the title to be held by the eldest son of the kings or queens of England.

Some who never became king
Six holders died before they became king, including

Prince Arthur, eldest son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. Created  at the age of three in 1489, and  Prince Arthur died in 1502, and the title went to his brother, later to become Henry VIII.

Prince Henry, eldest son of James I and Anne of Denmark, was 16 when he was created Prince of Wales in 1610
He died in November 1612 - and was succeeded  by his brother, the future Charles I.

Prince Frederick, eldest son of George II and Queen Caroline, was created  in 1729, but died before his father. His son, the future George III, got the title when he was 12.
Some had to wait a long time to become king
Queen Victoria created her first son in 1841, four weeks after he was born; he had to wait until January 1901 before becoming King Edward VII. Less than ten months later, in November 1901, the future King George V was created prince - at the age of 36.
Not all lasted long on the the throne
Prince Edward, son of King George V and Queen Mary, was created Prince of Wales on his 16th birthday in  1910. Edward became King Edward VIII on January 20, 1936. but abdicated, on December 10, 1936, the throne
passing  to his brother, King George VI - grandfather of the present Prince of Wales.

Princes of Wales since 1301:
Prince      son of Created Prince

       of Wales

     Age     where       invested what happened to him
Edward I and Eleanor of Castile Feb 1, 1301, 16 . in Lincoln Acceded as Edward II on June 8,1307.
Edward III and Philippa of Hainault May 12, 1343
12 at Westminster. Died on June 8, 1376.
Richard   Edward, Prince of Wales and Joan of Kent Nov 20, 1376 9 at Havering. Acceded as Richard II
on June 22, 1377.
Henry Henry IV and Mary de Bohun Oct 15, 1399 12 at Westminster Acceded as Henry V on March 20, 1413.
Edward  .
Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou Mar 15, 1454 5 months at Windsor Died on May 4, 1471
Edward Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville Jun 26, 1471 7 months at Westminster Edward V on April 9, 1483.
Edward  Richard III and Anne of Warwick Aug 24, 1483 10 at York Minster Died on April 9, 1484.
Arthur Henry VII and Elizabeth of
Nov 29, 1489 3 at Westminster Died on April 2, 1502.
Henry Henry VII and Elizabeth of
Feb 18, 1504 12 at Westminster. Henry VIII on April 22, 1509.
Henry James I and Anne of Denmark Jun 4, 1610 16 at Westminster Died on November 6, 1612.
Charles James I and Anne of Denmark Nov 4,1616 15 at Whitehall Acceded as Charles I on March 27, 1625
Charles Charles I and Henrietta Maria of France 1638 to 1641 8 to 11 in London Acceded as Charles II on January 30, 1649.
James II and Mary of Modena July 4, 1688 3 weeks at St James's. Forfeited title when James II was declared to have abdicated, on  December 11,1688.
George George I and Sophie Dorothea of
Brunswick-Luneburg and Celle
Sept 27, 1714 30 at Westminster Acceded as George II on June 11, 1727.
George II and Caroline of
Jan 8, 1729 21 in London. Died on March 20, 1751.
George Frederick, Prince of Wales and
Augusta of Saxe-Gotha
Apr 20, 1751 12 in London Acceded as George III on October 25, 1760.
George George III and Charlotte of
Aug 19, 1762 1 week in London. Acceded as George IV on January 29, 1820.
Albert Edward Queen Victoria and Prince Albert Dec 8, 1841 4 weeks in London Acceded as King
Edward VII on January 22, 1901.
George King Edward VII and Queen
Nov 9, 1901 36 in London. Acceded as King George V on May 6, 1910
Edward King George V and Queen Mary June 23, 1910 16 Acceded as King Edward VIII on January 20, 1936.
Charles Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh July 26, 1958 9 in London

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