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Prince of Wales

The eldest son of the reigning monarch of Great Britain is traditionally invested with the title of Prince of Wales. This tradition began in 1301, when King Edward I of England, having completed the Norman conquest of Wales, gave the title to his heir, Prince Edward (later King Edward II of England). The apocryphal story that the king promised the rebellious Welsh natives "a prince born in Wales, who did not speak a word of English", and then produced his infant son, was not written down until the sixteenth century. However, Edward II certainly was born at Caernarfon, while his father was campaigning in Wales.

Prior to the conquest of Wales, only a handful of native princes had claimed the title of Prince of Wales, the country having been divided into smaller principalities for most of the post-Roman period. In 1258, the title was claimed by Llywelyn the Last, Prince of Gwynedd, having been briefly held by his uncle, Dafydd ap Llywelyn, who was recognised by King Henry III of England as rightful ruler.

The Prince Charles, the present Prince of Wales, is the twenty-first to hold the title officially. The other holders were:

Edward II of England 1301-1307
Edward the Black Prince 1330-1376
Richard II of England 1376-1377
Henry V of England 1399-1413
Edward of Westminster (son of Henry VI of England) 1453-1471
Edward V of England 1470-1483
Edward of Middleham (son of Richard III of England) 1483-1484
Arthur Tudor 1486-1502
Henry VIII of England 1502-1509
Henry Stuart (or Stewart) (son of King James I of England) 1603-1612
Charles I of England 1612-1625
Charles II of England 1630-1649
James Francis Edward Stuart (or Stewart) ("the Old Pretender") 1688
George II of Great Britain 1714-1727
Frederick, Prince of Wales 1727-1751
George III of the United Kingdom 1751-1760
George IV of the United Kingdom 1762-1820
Edward VII of the United Kingdom 1841-1901
George V of the United Kingdom 1901-1910
Edward VIII of the United Kingdom 1910-1936

The title Princess of Wales is applied by courtesy to the wife of the Prince of Wales.

The Prince of Wales is styled His Royal Highness (HRH). The same style is given by virtue of her marriage to the Princess of Wales. However, as was shown in the case of Diana, Princess of Wales, the style lapses if a Prince and Princess divorce, as it is only hers by virtue of marriage to the Prince of Wales, not in her own right.

The regalia of the Prince of Wales are known as the Honours of the Principality of Wales.