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On this date in History: February 7, 1301 Prince Edward of Carnarvon (future King Edward II) was created and invested with the title of Prince of Wales.

Edward II, King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Aquitaine & First English Prince of Wales

Edward II (April 25, 1284 – September 21, 1327), was the son of Edward I and his first wife, Eleanor of Castile. Edward’s name was English in origin, linking him to the Anglo-Saxon saint Edward the Confessor, and was chosen by his father instead of the more traditional Norman and Castiliannames selected for Edward’s brothers: Edward had three elder brothers: John and Henry, who had died before Edward was born, and Alphonso, who died in August 1284, leaving Edward as the heir to the throne.

The last Welsh princes, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, was killed in battle in 1282 by Edward I. In the spring of 1301, the king declared Edward the Prince of Wales, granting him the earldom of Chester and lands across North Wales; he seems to have hoped that this would help pacify the region, and that it would give his son some financial independence.

Coat of Arms of the Prince of Wales

As title of heir apparent

The tradition of conferring the title “Prince of Wales” on the heir apparent of the monarch is usually considered to have begun in 1301, when King Edward I of England invested his son Edward of Caernarfon with the title at a Parliament held in Lincoln. According to legend, the king had promised the Welsh that he would name “a prince born in Wales, who did not speak a word of English” and then produced his infant son, who had been born at Caernarfon, to their surprise. However, the story may well be apocryphal, as it can only be traced to the 16th century, and, in the time of Edward I, the English aristocracy spoke Norman French, not English (some versions of the legend include lack of knowledge in both languages as a requirement, and one reported version has the very specific phrase “born on Welsh soil and speaking no other language”).

Edward II was King of England, Lord of Ireland and Duke of Aquitaine from 1307 until he was deposed in January 1327.