Over the course of her reign, The Queen has visited every region of Wales, and has spoken of her fondness for the country's people and culture. She has visited Royal Welsh Shows and Welsh battalions, watched rugby in Cardiff and toured the country as part of her Jubilee celebrations, meeting people from all walks of life.
For her sixth birthday in 1932 The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, was given a miniature thatched cottage, ‘Y Bwthyn Bach’, or The Little House, by the people of Wales.
Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret looked after it themselves and for many years it was their favourite toy. It was installed in the grounds of Royal Lodge, where it still remains in regular use by the current generation of Royal children.
The Princess’s first visit to Wales was with her parents King George VI and Queen Elizabeth during their ‘Victory Tour’ of the UK following the Second World War. A year later, she met representatives of the Girl Guides of Wales, whilst a Girl Guide herself.
At her wedding to Prince Philip in 1947, the bride's wedding ring was made from Welsh gold. Her Majesty later remarked on the significance of the ring, saying, 'I carry a small reminder of this country wherever I go.'
Visits as Queen
As a new Queen, in the year of her Accession in 1952, there was great excitement at her visit, with the Western Mail reporting that:
“A party of Upper Towy Valley farmers intend riding 17 miles on horseback from their homes. Ten miles of their journey will be over bleak, mountainous country, but the party hope to reach the Elan Valley in time to reach the Queen.”
In 1960 she became the first reigning monarch to visit the National Eisteddfod joined by Prince Charles and Princess Anne.
In 1966 The Queen visited Aberfan, the site of the collapse of a colliery spoilt tip which took the lives of 116 children and 28 adults, where she met those involved in the relief effort and received flowers from the village’s surviving children. She revisited in 1973 and again in 1997, 31 years after the disaster, to meet a survivor.
Her Majesty has visited Wales for each of her Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees.
During her visit to Ebbw Vale during her Diamond Jubilee year, The Queen remarked on the spirit of the Welsh people:
I have travelled the length and breadth of this country during my sixty years as your Queen. Prince Philip and I have shared many of the joys and sadnesses of the Welsh people in that time and have always been struck by your sense of pride and your undimmed optimism.
The Prince of Wales’s Investiture
In 1969, The Queen invested Prince Charles as Prince of Wales during a ceremony at Caernarfon Castle. During the spectacular ceremony, the Prince had the coronet and robes placed on him and pledged his allegiance to Her Majesty.
Taught at University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, Prince Charles spent ten weeks leading up to his investiture learning about Welsh culture, history and language, and during the ceremony he gave his replies in both English and Welsh. He gave his address in Welsh. Today, he Prince of Wales has a home in Wales. Named Llwynywermod, the house in Llandovery, Myddfai is a base for Their Royal Highnesses whenever they visit Wales, and especially during Wales Week each year, when they spend time visiting Welsh communities and celebrating the nation’s history and culture.
'It is a source of pleasure that both The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, together with The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, have had homes in Wales,’ The Queen has said, ‘and experienced its very special sense of community.'