Becoming The Prince of Wales at the age of nine, The King had a long and enduring relationship with Wales and that relationship remains today.
In 1958, His Majesty paid his first visit to Wales when he was just 10 years old. The visit to Holyhead with his parents, Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh, and sister, Princess Anne, took place shortly after it was announced that the young Prince Charles would be invested as Prince of Wales.
On 1st July 1969, The then Prince Charles was invested as Prince of Wales by Queen Elizabeth II in a colourful ceremony at Caernarfon Castle. There were more than 4,000 people in the grounds of Caernarfon Castle, and a television audience of hundreds of millions, to watch His Majesty's Investiture as Prince of Wales.
Ahead of the investiture, The Prince had spent a term at the University College of Wales at Aberystwyth, learning to speak Welsh.
During the ceremony, he said:
Ni fedrwn innau, chwaith, lai na bod yn ymwybodol o hanes maith Cymru a'i phenderfyniad i barhau ar wahan ac i warchod ei threftadaeth arbennig ei hun, treftadaeth sy'n mynd yn ol i niwloedd hen hanes y Brython, ac sydd wedi cynhyrchu cymaint o ddewrion, tywysogion, beirdd, ysgolheigion, ac yn ddiweddarach fyth gantorion enwog, "goon" cofiadwy iawn a ser amlwg ym myd y ffilmiau. Fe ysbrydolwyd pob un o'r bobl hyn mewn rhyw ffordd neu'i gilydd, gan y dreftadaeth hon.
In English, this reads: "It is with a certain sense of pride and emotion that I have received these symbols of office, here in this magnificent fortress, where no-one could fail to be stirred by its atmosphere of time-worn grandeur, nor where I myself could be unaware of the long history of Wales in its determination to remain individual and to guard its own particular heritage. A heritage that dates back into the mists of ancient British history, that has produced many brave men, Princes, poets, bards, scholars and more recently, great singers, a very memorable "goon" and eminent film stars. All these people have been inspired in some way by this heritage."
After being Invested, The then Prince of Wales embarked on a tour of the country to meet people across a number of communities.
The King took up his first Service appointment in 1969 as Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Regiment of Wales.
It was in Wales at the ‘Countryside in 1970’ conference, where The King first spoke publically of the dangers of pollution and plastics and their impact on the natural world. His Majesty said, “Waste is yet another problem. When you think that each person produces roughly 2lbs of rubbish per day and there are 55 million of us on this island using non-returnable bottles and indestructible plastic containers, it is not difficult to imagine the mountains of refuse that we shall have to deal with somehow.”
In 2020, 50 years later, The then Prince of Wales reflected on his speech:
In 2000, The former Prince of Wales revived the tradition of having an official harpist in order to foster Welsh talent on the harp, the national instrument of Wales. It was the first time the role had been filled since Queen Victoria had granted it to John Thomas in 1871. After it was recreated, there were six holders of the title of Official Harpist.
The King, when he was Prince of Wales, became Patron of some 40 Welsh charities and organisations such as The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama; Ty Hafan: the children’s hospice in Wales; the International Musical Eisteddfod in Llangollen and the Welsh National Opera. His Majesty also became Patron of the University of Wales Trinity St David.
As The Prince of Wales, His Majesty founded Prime Cymru in 2001 to provide practical support to people aged 50 and over in Wales who want to set up and run their own business.
Business in the Community Cymru, of which His Majesty became Royal Founding Patron, has 300 businesses of all sizes engaged across Wales and has raised millions of pounds of in kind support for hundreds of community projects.
In 2014, having heard that the last traditional Welsh clog maker was having difficulty recruiting an apprentice, The King helped to recruit a new trainee through The Prince’s Trust to ensure the tradition could continue.
In December 2016, The King welcomed members of the Inuit community to his Welsh home, Llwynywermod. The guests were from Canada’s national organization of the Inuit, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), and were visiting Wales to discuss their work to standardise the Inuit language of Inuktitut and learn from the Welsh example of language revitalisation.
In addition to attending important national occasions in Wales, such as the opening of the National Assembly, The NATO Summit and the 50th anniversary of the Aberfan disaster, Their Majesties, when they were The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, visited Wales every summer for a concentrated week of engagements, known as Wales Week.
His Majesty became the longest-serving Prince of Wales in history. The King was the 21st Prince of Wales and the first since 1936. His Majesty's son, Prince William, now holds the title of The Prince of Wales.