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King Edward II of England and Lord of Ireland was born in Caernarfon Castle in North Wales on April 24, 1284, the son of King Edward I of England and Lord of Ireland and Infanta Eleanor of Castile daughter of King Fernando III of Castile and Joan, Countess of Ponthieu.

Edward of Caernarfon was born in North Wales less than a year after Edward I had conquered the region. The king probably chose Caernarfon Castle deliberately as the location for Edward’s birth as it was an important symbolic location for the native Welsh, associated with Roman imperial history, and it formed the centre of the new royal administration of North Wales.

King Edward II of England and Lord of Ireland

One of the last independent Princess of Wales was Llywelyn ap Gruffydd (Llywelyn the Last), who was killed at the Battle of Orewin Bridge in 1282.

His brother, Dafydd ap Gruffydd, was executed the following year. After these two deaths, Edward I of England invested his son Edward of Caernarfon as the first English Prince of Wales on February 7, 1301.

The title was later claimed by the heir of Gwynedd, Owain Glyndŵr (Owain ap Gruffydd), from 1400 until 1415 (date of his assumed death) who led Welsh forces against the English. Since then, it has only been held by the heir apparent of the English and subsequently British monarch. The title is a subject of controversy in Wales.

Coat of Arms of the Prince of Wales

According to conventional wisdom, since 1301 the Prince of Wales has usually been the eldest living son (only if he is also the heir apparent) of the King or Queen Regnant of England (subsequently of Great Britain, 1707, and of the United Kingdom, 1801).

The title is neither automatic or heritable; it merges with the Crown when its holder eventually accedes to the throne, or reverts to the Crown if its holder predeceases the current monarch, leaving the sovereign free to grant it to the new heir apparent (such as the late prince’s son or brother).

King Charles III of the United Kingdom

Since 1301, the title ‘Earl of Chester’ has generally been granted to each heir apparent to the English throne, and from the late 14th century it has been given only in conjunction with that of ‘Prince of Wales’. Both titles are bestowed to each individual by the sovereign and are not automatically acquired.

The current sovereign, King Charles III of the United Kingdom, was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester on July 26, 1958. He was the longest serving Prince of Wales for 64 years and 44 days from his creation as Prince of Wales in 1958 until his accession to the throne on September 8, 2022.

HRH The Prince of Wales

King Charles III was also heir apparent for longer than any other heir to the throne in British history.

Upon the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, on September 8, 2022, Charles became King and the title, along with other titles connected to the Prince of Wales merged with the Crown. The following day, King Charles III bestowed the title Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester upon his elder son, Prince William, Duke of Cornwall and Cambridge.