When a poll earlier this year showed overwhelming support for the title of Prince of Wales to continue beyond Prince Charles to William, some in society were scratching their heads in dismay.

For many republicans in Wales, beyond the jewels, stately homes and questionable practices of some of its members, the Royal Family is a visible representation of centuries of British, or English, dominance over Wales.

The title of 'Prince of Wales' is seen as the living embodiment of Wales’ subservience to its neighbour.

However, polling does suggest a significant majority of people would like to see Prince William follow his father in being made the Prince of Wales.

A  poll carried out by Beaufort Research for the Western Mail earlier this year showed that 61 per cent of people responded Yes to the question “When Prince Charles becomes King, would you like to see Prince William made the Prince of Wales at a public ceremony known as an investiture?”

Interestingly, 60 per cent of Welsh speakers were also in favour.

The National Wales:

Of course, a lot has changed in the 52 years that have passed since Charles’ controversial investiture took place at Caernarfon Castle, recently retold in the Netflix series, 'The Crown'.

At that time, two Welsh nationalists blew themselves up as they planted a bomb on the railway line used by the Royal Family on the eve of the ceremony. There were many demonstrations against what was seen by opponents at the time as an event to quash demands for home rule.

Since then, Wales has gained autonomy through its own Parliament, and many of our political establishments and national institutions have become unrecognisable.

The veins of resentment towards the investiture and the wider monarchy have run right through the last half century.

The Manic Street Preachers refused to sing at the opening of the Senedd, while Leanne Wood was ordered out of the Siambr after referring to Queen Elizabeth II as "Mrs Windsor" during a debate.

Still, Wales and Welsh culture remains intertwined with the monarchy, its individuals and its symbolism.

Many a city or town has a pub called 'The Prince of Wales'. The Welsh rugby team wears a shirt with the three feathers embroidered on its chest. Even the Welsh football team – to many a bastion of independent Welsh identity – has the Queen as its patron.

Swansea University’s Professor Martin Johnes told The National that support for the monarchy is not a political statement.

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Professor Johnes said: “I think there is enough soft support for royalty in Wales and across the UK.

“That is partly about celebrity culture as much as it is about a deep attachment to royalty as a concept.

“Perhaps stronger than support is a lack of support for abolishing them and there simply isn’t a deep hunger for replacing them.

“It is a symbolic position, it doesn’t really have any power or do anything.

“You have to separate admiration for the individual and admiration for the monarchy.

“When you ask what does the Prince of Wales represent? That has changed over time. The idea of the heir to the British throne being Prince of Wales is a colonial statement in the 15th century, that was done to show power had moved from Wales to England.

“In time, it grew to mean something very different. If you look at the Victorian period, there is huge pride in the heir to the throne being Welsh. Calling the building society The Principality was a sense of Welshness, of Wales being different.”

Of course, the title ‘Prince of Wales’ has been around a lot longer than the seven and a bit centuries it has been a dynastic title granted by the king or queen to the heir apparent.

For many, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, or Llywelyn Ein Llyw Olaf, was the last person to truly hold the title before he was killed in 1282.

READ MORE: Glyndŵr Day is worthy of a new national holiday

Owain Glyndŵr also staked a claim to the throne via his lineage, on this day in 1400. 

Then there are issues with language. ‘Tywysog’ as a word, and as the direct translation of ‘Prince’, is also problematic.

It relates to the verb 'tywys', which means 'to lead'. To say Tywysog equals Prince is therefore problematic and, for many, suggests an element of the ‘English’ throne having belittled Welsh leaders by making them subservient to the king.

Republicanism is, of course, not just a Welsh phenomenon. However, several billboards popping up across the country show that the Prince of Wales may be where the next battle will be fought.

Despite the assumption that republicanism and independence go hand in hand, Plaid Cymru, now positioned as Wales’ party of independence, do not appear overly comfortable pinning themselves to a position.

A spokesperson for the party said at the time of the poll: “Regardless of whether the people of Wales are for or against Prince William inheriting the title and a public investiture being held, they currently have no say in the matter.

“A wider democratic consultation should be held to give the people of Wales a real voice in the process.”

According to sources within the party, that position has not changed.

Any such consultation also does not seem forthcoming.

The National Wales: A republic billboard in Grangetown in Cardiff. Source: Mark HooperA republic billboard in Grangetown in Cardiff. Source: Mark Hooper

The Welsh Government has confirmed that it is its understanding that it remains for the new monarch to consider granting the title to the heir apparent in the traditional way.

“The upcoming constitutional commission will not be tasked with issues relating to the Royal Family”, a spokesperson said.

For the Tories, an investiture would be an event they are very much on board with. For them, the monarchy is as Welsh as it is British.

Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies told The National: “As the poll showed earlier this year, 70 per cent of people in Wales want to see Prince William made the Prince of Wales when the current Prince of Wales becomes King.

“The Royal Family are extremely popular in Wales, and that is because their presence provides guaranteed stability in the UK and they are fantastic ambassadors for this country.”

For Professor Johnes though, making an event of it is fraught with risks for monarchists and unionists.

“1969 saw two different visions of Wales, and although the British vision far outweighed the Welsh nationalism at the time, it was great PR for Welsh nationalism.

“If it happened again, there would be a very loud minority who would use it as a way of promoting their vision to the world.

“You would see what currently happens on social media being aired more openly to a larger audience.

“If you asked my advice, I would say not to have that investiture. I cannot see what unionism would have to gain.

“The current UK government does seem very much in favour of muscular unionism, but that doesn’t work. It is about a singular idea of what Britishness is.

“The majority of people feel Welsh and British. The union has survived by allowing people to have two nationalities, and good politics plays those two.

“Muscular unionism doesn’t play that game. It is very easy to imagine the current UK government using an investiture to promote unionism and Britishness, but they would forget that the investiture in 1961 was to promote Welshness and Britishness.

“That is Welsh history, the Conservatives have done more for Welsh nationalism through annoying Welsh people, than anyone.”

With republicans outnumbered and with no clear vehicle on whichto  generate momentum against Prince William succeeding his father, there is little standing between Prince Williams and the title of Prince of Wales.

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But, Professor Johnes had a warning for those who believe the future is fixed.

“If you look at the history of the royal family over the years, it has been very resilient.

“It has been adaptive and, if you look over a long period, there have been periods where the monarchy has been deeply unpopular but they have survived.

“The lesson of history is we should not underestimate their resilience, but we also shouldn’t assume that current levels of support will continue indefinitely.

“It would only take one scandal or one very popular politician to change things.”

Times have changed quickly in recent years in UK politics, you sense the ground is shifting, not even those born to rule can be certain they will step over the cracks.

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