Mark Drakeford: Prince of Wales 'absolutely aware of the sensitivities surrounding the title'

The new Prince of Wales will be absolutely aware of the sensitivities surrounding the title and there's "no rush" for an investiture, the First Minister has said.

Mark Drakeford said there is an "alive" debate surrounding the role - but he won't be taking part in it "this week".

He told ITV's Sharp End that Prince William, who was appointed Prince of Wales in The King's first public address, "will want to take his time to make sure he becomes familiar and the ground is firm under his feet."

Ahead of Prince Charles' investiture in 1969, a protest movement grew in Aberwystwyth - and there was even a bomb plot.

King Charles III confirmed the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge are now the Prince and Princess of Wales. Credit: PA

The First Minister's comments come a day after the new Prince of Wales pledged to "support the aspirations of the Welsh people" in a telephone call.

"He will be well briefed about these things as his grandmother was when she visited Wales," Mr Drakeford said.

"I’m quite sure that it’s a decision made with open eyes and it will be part of why the incoming Prince of Wales will want to take his time to make sure he becomes familiar and the ground is firm under his feet.

"He was very warm yesterday about the time he’s spent in Wales - the period when he was based in Anglesey, involved in emergency ambulance work, and the memories he has of that very important time in his life. He’ll want to use that as a bit of an entry point to do more."

Mr Drakeford said there's "plenty of time" for the Prince of Wales role to develop and that there's "no rush" for a formal ceremony or investiture.

He said: "The Wales of 2022 is not the Wales of 1969. I don't think it would be sensible to look back and say you could simply replicate that.

"My only advice, if it was ever sought, would be to give these things time. There is no rush.

"I think that there are plenty of things for someone wanting to come to Wales more often, spending more time here, learning more about the things that matter in contemporary Wales - plenty for that role to be able to develop and no need to feel that ceremonial occasions need to be early on the agenda."

The First Minister assured that there will be future discussions about an elected head of state in Wales - but "not this week" while the country is in a period of national mourning.

He said: "I think there’s a discussion there and it’s alive and happening already but this week is a week about reflecting on the life of service, the memories people have of someone who has been part of everyone’s life for so long.

"Most of us remember nothing at all before the reign of Queen Elizabeth II so for me, while there is a debate, this is not the time to be having it. There is plenty of time to have discussions of that sort where people want them in the future."

The King announced the Prince of Wales title in his first address to the nation. Credit: PA

Mr Drakeford also admitted he heard the news of the new Prince of Wales on the same day as everybody else.

In his first address to the nation, King Charles confirmed the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge would also now be the Prince and Princess of Wales.

He said of his son and heir, William: “Today I am proud to create him Prince of Wales, Tywysog Cymru. The country whose title I've been so greatly privileged to bear during so much of my life of duty."

"I think you can be sure that nothing happens by accident in the Royal household," the First Minister said.

"When an announcement of that sort is made it will have been thought about, it will have been discussed and it will have been planned. So it was part of something that the new King wanted to establish immediately on becoming the Monarch."

Mr Drakeford was asked if he's glad of the announcement of a new Prince of Wales.

"Well, it’s a decision that has been made," he replied.

"In some ways, that has avoided what might have been a drawn out debate about what should happen. It has happened.

"I had the opportunity of a conversation with the new Prince of Wales yesterday and I am very sure from that conversation that he wants to do everything he can to make a success of that role, to ease himself into it, to learn more about Wales, to spend more time talking to people in Wales about the things that matter in modern Wales - and then to find ways in which he can help to make a success of the things that will be important to people in the future."

'A cause for celebration'

Fay Jones, Conservative MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, said the appointment of a new Prince of Wales is a cause for celebration and she said that it shouldn't have been a surprise.

"It is what traditionally happens to the elder son of the sovereign, so I think that it's right and appropriate.

"I'm absolutely delighted and I think there is a great strength of support for the monarch in Wales. I think a lot of people were also thrilled that we now have this optimistic chapter to look forward to."

See more on this story on Sharp End, Monday September 12 at 11pm on ITV. You can also catch-up here.