TX ITV1, 9pm, 7th November 2019
Prince Charles became Prince of Wales aged just nine years old, but it was not until eleven years later, in the summer of 1969, that he was formally invested with the title by The Queen in a spectacular ceremony at Caernarfon Castle. The event was watched by half a billion people around the world putting Wales firmly on the global stage. But it was not without controversy as, for some, the celebration also became a moment for nationalist protest. Five decades on, The Prince is now the longest serving Prince of Wales in history and his affection for the nation and its people is as strong as ever. To commemorate an extraordinary half century of service to Wales, ITV has been granted unique access to The Prince at his secluded Welsh home of ‘Llwynywermod’, deep in the Carmarthenshire countryside. In a very personal interview, The Prince reflects on the events surrounding his investiture and how, as a young man, he fell in love with the magic of the Welsh countryside, but how it took decades to find the perfect place to call his own. He describes how owning a house in Wales has cemented his love for the landscape, the people and enabled him to showcase the craftsmanship and culture of Wales.
Creating a home here has also allowed The Prince to get to know more of the people and places that make Wales unique. People like Anna Grime who runs a tiny mill in Pembrokeshire where the rugs for his house were made. Then there is his local rugby club in Llandovery where The Prince has been fortunate to be Patron during the most successful chapter in the club’s history. He has also maintained a decades long relationship with the community of Aberfan following the tragic mining disaster of October 1966 that saw 116 of its schoolchildren and 28 adults killed.
During the film, The Prince and his wife The Duchess of Cornwall are filmed on their annual Welsh tour, making new friends and reconnecting with people from The Prince’s past. Later, in what he describes as a ‘pilgrimage’ – The Prince meets the nephew of World War One poet and Welsh hero Hedd Wyn, who was killed on the first day of The Battle of Passchendaele before being posthumously awarded the Bard’s Chair at the 1917 Eisteddfod. Fifty years on it is perhaps The Duchess who best sums up what it is The Prince loves most about Wales “Quite simply it’s the culture, it’s the landscape, it’s the people.”
“Less familiar are the scenes of police snipers on rooftops, and the edgy atmosphere that surrounded the event: two men were killed on the evening of the ceremony while planting a bomb, and a retired detective told the programme that he and his colleagues were armed with a photo album “like a bird book” to identify anyone who might pose a threat on the day”
“This documentary….sneaks in a more interesting story….with snipers, a bomb plot and undercover officers creating a surprising Frederick Forsyth sheen”