Dec 11, 2009

MI5’s Attempt to Infiltrate Plaid Cymru Inspires Novel

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The Prince and the Patriot by John D Rogers front cover

The Prince and the Patriot, published this week, is a lively account of the political divisions and deep resentments surrounding the investiture – 40 years ago – of Charles Windsor as Prince of Wales.

Author John D Rogers, who was himself involved with Plaid Cymru at the time, was inspired to write the novel after encountering a suspicious character.

“In 1965, when I was at university in Leeds,” Mr Rogers said, “I met a 30-year-old alleged student who told me he was a ‘Liverpool Welshman’ and had been in the Foreign Legion. He wanted to make contact with Plaid Cymru members so he could help the Welsh cause. As I was active in the Welsh Society and had started a West Riding branch of Plaid Cymru for ex-pats, I was quite flattered.”

However, events soon started to take a sinister turn.

“One day my mother told me he had turned up at the door asking questions about me and wanted to know who belonged to Plaid in Liverpool, where she lived. Later on, he suggested that I should help him to ‘do something about’ the Clywedog reservoir then being built, and reminded me that he had explosives experience. It was then that the warning bells started to ring. I refused his offer and never saw him again. Some time later, I found out that this person was working for MI5.”

In the novel, which should appeal to teenage readers and young adults of both sexes, sixth-former Geraint, completely uninterested in politics, finds himself suspended from school for making a stand for the Welsh language. Soon afterwards he joins Plaid Cymru and begins campaigning for them, eventually also becoming a member of the secretive Liberation Army of Wales. Strongly opposed to the investiture, planned for July 1969, the LAW members turn their attention from blowing up water pipelines to a plan to kidnap Charles before the ceremony takes place.

However, the book is not all about plotting and politics. Geraint’s burgeoning love affair with English girlfriend Melanie plays a major role as she tries to warn him of the agent provocateur aiming to expose the plotters.

John D Rogers lives in Nantymoel, South Wales. A retired English teacher (although he still teaches part-time), he has also spent time in the Merchant Navy. The Prince and the Patriot is published by Y Lolfa and is available in book shops and for £6.95.

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