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Royal Wales

Royal Wales

Deborah Fisher
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: 1
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  • Book Info
    Royal Wales
    Book Description:

    Covers both the royal families that existed in pre-Conquest Wales and the predominantly English royal families that have ruled over Wales since medieval times. This book examines the changing relationships between the rulers and the ruled in Wales, over a period from the early Middle Ages.

    eISBN: 978-0-7083-2312-0
    Subjects: History
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. vii-vii)
  3. Prologue (pp. viii-viii)

    In 2007, a plaque was presented to the Snowdonia Society for placement in the new visitor centre at the summit of Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales. In the Welsh language, Snowdon is called Yr Wyddfa (meaning ‘the tumulus’) and Snowdonia is Eryri, the ‘lair of eagles’. The medieval princes of Gwynedd called themselves lords of Snowdonia, and even today Baron Snowdon is a lesser royal title (currently held by Prince Philip).

    The newly carved plaque was donated by the Princess Gwenllian Society, a flourishing group that aims to preserve the memory of Princess Gwenllian (1282–1337), daughter of Llywelyn...

  4. Family Trees (pp. ix-x)
  5. List of Illustrations (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Introduction (pp. 1-2)

    When King Edward I brought about the death of the last independent prince of Wales, he was eliminating a royal family with which he had close blood ties. Llywelyn’s late wife, Eleanor de Montfort (1252–82), had been Edward’s first cousin. Llywelyn’s uncle and predecessor, Dafydd, had been another first cousin. Llywelyn’s aunt, Gwladus Ddu, had been married to Ralph Mortimer, lord of Wigmore, a Norman whose forebears had served Edward’s ancestor, William the Conqueror, and had done well out of the invasion of England. The Mortimers had also intermarried with the English royal family, and several of their descendants...

  7. Kings of Wales (pp. 3-15)

    We cannot go back far enough in written history to find out much about the pre-Roman rulers of Wales. The earliest Welsh leader whose name we know is the man called Caradog by the Welsh and Caratacus by the Romans, and he did not originate from the region we now call Wales. A son of King Cunobelinos of the Catuvellauni, who ruled the area around Colchester, Caratacus fled westward before the Roman invaders, after the defeat of his own people, and joined forces with the Silures, the tribe native to south-east Wales. After a further defeat, he retreated north to...

  8. Normans (pp. 16-26)

    The Normans invaded England in 1066, but did not attempt to take Wales at that point. They preferred a piecemeal approach, and within ten years, William the Conqueror had created three new earldoms along the Welsh ‘march’, the border land that kept the Welsh and English apart. Hitherto it had been difficult to tell where England ended and Wales began. The border populations spoke both languages, and England up to now had been, like Wales, less of a nation than a collection of petty kingdoms. The new earls of Hereford, Chester, Shrewsbury and, later, Gloucester, were loyal to the new...

  9. Royal Blood (pp. 27-29)

    As we have seen, the quest for legitimacy through ancestry goes back to the earliest recorded history. In 855, Cyngen, former ruler of Powys, died at Rome, where he had gone on pilgrimage, perhaps as a refuge from the constant aggression of the princes of Gwynedd. Before leaving Wales, Cyngen had apparently erected the monument now known as the Pillar of Eliseg, which still stands near Valle Crucis Abbey in Denbighshire. The inscription, which has almost completely faded from view, was recorded by the great Welsh scholar Edward Lhuyd (1660–1790). It records the descent of Cyngen and his ancestors...

  10. Welsh Pretenders: Owain Lawgoch and Owain Glyndŵr (pp. 30-38)

    The revolt of Owain Glyndŵr is considered by many to be the single most important event in Welsh history. The folk memory of Owain’s fifteenth- century parliaments at Machynlleth and Harlech has become a rallying- point for supporters of Welsh self-government. The 600th anniversary of the rebellion, in the year 2000, gave rise to celebrations and commemorative events of various kinds. It also resulted in the creation of an Owain Glyndŵr Society, with the initial aim of erecting a suitable memorial in Machynlleth.

    The subsequent formation of a campaigning group, Senedd ’04, was inspired by the anniversary of Glyndŵr’s 1404...

  11. The Wars of the Roses (pp. 39-44)

    Rebellion did not altogether cease simply because Owain Glyndŵr had disappeared from the scene. The cause of Welsh independence became subsumed by the greater political struggle that began when it became clear that the young Henry VI was not going to be the strong and warlike king his father had been. The Welsh had not altogether forgotten how the House of Lancaster had usurped the throne from the House of York, and there were men still living who had fought under Glyndŵr.

    Richard Plantagenet, duke of York (1411–60), returned from Ireland in 1450, shortly after the loss of Calais...

  12. Welsh Royalists (pp. 45-67)

    It is tempting to think of Wales as a politically radical country with a tradition of republicanism. Nothing could be further from the truth. English kings have drawn some of their most loyal support from the principality. The Welsh were prepared to follow their native princes to the end. When these were replaced by alternative rulers, many subjects transferred their allegiance without a qualm. Edward II, Edward III, the Black Prince, Richard II, Henry V, Edward IV and Edward V were all indebted to their faithful Welsh supporters. The role played by Welsh archers at the battles of Crécy, Poitiers...

  13. [Illustrations] (pp. None)
  14. The Path to Constitutional Monarchy (pp. 68-81)

    From this time onwards, the attitude of the English royal family towards Wales (and, to a lesser extent, Scotland) became less threatening and even more patronizing. Gone was the prospect of Welsh armed rebellion. The nearest the Welsh came to it was the industrial unrest that occurred in both north and south Wales as the coal and iron industries expanded rapidly; and the focus of discontent had now been transferred to the owners of those industries. As the monarch’s power fell away or was taken away by Parliament, so other individuals became more powerful as a result of the wealth...

  15. Victorians and Edwardians (pp. 82-92)

    In contrast to her famous love of Scotland, Queen Victoria did not show any great interest in, or affection for, Wales. She visited for the first time before she came to the throne, during the reign of her uncle and predecessor, King William IV. William, the oldest king ever to arrive on the British throne (he was 64 at the time of his accession, setting a record that not even Edward VII could equal), enjoyed public adulation. William and his wife, Queen Adelaide, were so thrilled at their unexpected advancement that they would sometimes descend from their carriage in the...

  16. Residence in Wales (pp. 93-96)

    In 2007, the news that the prince of Wales was purchasing a house in the principality raised a few eyebrows. Prince Charles had briefly stayed in the celebrated Neuadd Pantycelyn, a student hall of residence, in Aberystwyth during 1969, but this was the nearest he had ever come to living in Wales. He does not, of course, plan to spend significant amounts of time in his new property near Llandovery. His plans to extend the property have aroused the indignation of local residents, but it is evident that the long-term plan is to add the dwellings on the Llwynwormwood estate...

  17. The Legacy (pp. 97-108)

    Interaction with kings, and other members of the royal family, continues to be a prized experience despite the trend towards republicanism, as previous chapters have shown. Since Britain began its gradual merger into a United Kingdom, it has always been the case that a royal visit attracted attention and called for an official record. It is only in the past two or three centuries, however, that tangible reminders have become standard: foundation stones, statues, memorial plaques and the like. From the Victorian era onwards, the tendency has been to look back further into the past and to attempt to record...

  18. Today and Tomorrow (pp. 109-113)

    In June 2007, the Queen arrived in Wales to open the new term of the Welsh Assembly, but her visit was met with protests from Plaid Cymru AMs. Leanne Wood and Bethan Jenkins declined to be present at the ceremony on the grounds that the monarchy was irrelevant to modern Wales. ‘There is nothing taboo or radical about being a republican in the 21st century’, Ms Jenkins was quoted as saying.

    A critic responded that ‘the Queen, her son and her grandson rightly hold a very special place within the hearts and affections of the Welsh people. Not only that...

  19. Select Bibliography (pp. 114-114)
  20. Index (pp. 115-126)