Investiture at 50: What is Prince Charles' relationship with Wales?

Investiture at Caernarfon Castle 1969 Credit: PA

ITV Wales' National Correspondent Rob Osborne reflects on the Prince in Wales.

July 1969 and the world was watching in anticipation. All eyes on a young man about to make history.

Communist and capitalist, young and old, everyone was united and nobody wanted to miss the moment. Thanks to television they wouldn't.

But Neil Armstrong's small step on the Moon, although a technical achievement, looked rather simple compared to the grand ceremony of that other event in July, the Investiture of Prince Charles as The Prince of Wales.

The Investiture at Caernarfon Castle was an historic nonsense. It had been revived from the past for the Queen's uncle, the future Edward VIII in 1911.

Prince Charles was already Prince of Wales. The Queen gave him the title as a schoolboy in 1958.

Some felt this occasion was being used for some positive PR.

But it was popular - a global audience of 500 million people watched. It remains one of the most watched events in Welsh history.

But 50 years on - what is Charles' relationship with Wales?

The Investiture took place on July 1st 1969 Credit: PA

A troubled beginning:

The investiture coincided with a revival in Welsh national consciousness. A vocal section of society viewed it as an English Prince being imposed on Wales.

In the run up to the ceremony there was a bombing campaign.

On the eve of the investiture two men set out to plant a bomb near a railway line in Abergele - the track Prince Charles would use to get to the castle.

They were killed when it exploded prematurely.

The day itself was peaceful.

Prince Charles had spent time in Wales - studying at Aberystwyth University.

The same year the Urdd Eisteddfod was in town. He was asked to make a speech, but as soon as he was on stage anti investiture campaigners began to protest.

It is something the young prince would get used to.

A Prince for Wales?

Charles maybe the Prince of Wales but his friends suggest he doesn't feel like the country has used him well.

Dafydd Elis Thomas - the Welsh Government's Culture Minister has known the him since they were students.

"We haven't made enough of him in my view because of the opposition in certain quarters." he told ITV in a documentary last year.

Dafydd Elis Thomas is former Presiding Officer at the National Assembly Credit: ITV Wales

At the time of his Investiture the Prince said he would devote a part of his life to Wales.

He learnt Welsh and still uses it, He has an annual tour of the country and a home in Carmarthenshire.

Although active in many aspects of Welsh society there are some notable absences on his Welsh honours shelf.

Unlike his parents, he is not a member of the Gorsedd of Bards - the high honour given to individuals for their commitment to Wales and its culture.

But he has used his platform to push causes and subjects of interest.

One of them is rural life and in 1969 he made a documentary on the subject for HTV Wales.

It featured a memorable encounter with an old Welsh farmer living on his own near Aberystwyth, Dafydd Edwardes.

The Future:

Prince Charles is the longest serving Prince of Wales. Some had speculated he could be the last. He won't.

He confirmed last year that Prince William will take on the role one day.

However we may not see an investiture similar to the one in Caernarfon five decades ago.

Sources suggest any future ceremony would look different and probably be based in Cardiff.

A poll last year for ITV Wales found most people did favour another investiture.

As for how he is viewed? The people of Wales feel, rather like the rest of the UK - some like him, others don't, the rest are in between or indifferent.

As for the Prince himself, his annual tour, which starts today, will not take in Caernarfon Castle - the scene of the investiture.

But in a speech last year, he said of his title "to bear this name, is the greatest possible honour."

All archive ITV Archive National Library of Wales.