Charles role as Wales’ prince quizzed

Prince Charles should have his role “redefined”.

Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, the Welsh Assembly’s presiding officer, has questioned whether the Prince of Wales title is still relevant to the “constitutional development” of Wales.

Lord Elis-Thomas praised Prince Charles as “Cymrophile” but added: “All constitutional conventions require a bit of refurbishment and re-examination”.

Explaining why he feels the title of the Prince of Wales is irrelevant to modern Wales, he added to the BBC: “Because the constitutional development has shifted to Wales’ own institutions and obviously to the First Minister and to devolved government in the National Assembly itself.

“I haven’t discussed this directly with the royal family and it’s not my place to do that but if they were to ask me what should happen I would say that the role of the prince needs to be redefined if that title is to be continued.”

The lord also called for the end of the extravagant ceremony which saw Charles invested as Prince of Wales in 1969, arguing no such “stunt” should take place in future because both the monarchy and Wales have changed.

However, Associate Professor of British history at the University of Michigan, Professor John Ellis argued an investiture would attract more attention to the country.

John, who has written a book on the 1911 and 1969 investitures, said the latter event was the most globally recognised event in Welsh history with worldwide television coverage.

He said: “This was a huge event that projected Wales across the world. Wales hasn’t had a very high-profile image and I do think it did succeed in that aspect.

“I can definitely see how events like the investiture could put Wales back on the map like in 1969 but I do think it would invite a certain amount of controversy and debate.”

The interview was broadcast last night (09.10.08) on BBC Wales’ Dragon’s Eye political programme.