People in Wales are urged to celebrate a “real, forgotten Welsh Prince” rather than the wedding of an English royal later this month. Y Lolfa publishers will not publish a souvenir book celebrating William and Kate’s wedding, but instead are publishing a book celebrating the life of Dafydd ap Llywelyn, a seemingly forgotten royal sovereign of Wales whose brief, but kaleidoscopic life heralded fraternal strife, ambitious politics and bloody conflict.
Y Lolfa have decided to publish the book at the same time as the royal wedding, urging the Welsh to make the most of their own heritage and princes and to ignore the wedding of a future English king.
Lefi Gruffudd said: “I can’t see any point in celebrating this wedding – it has no relevance to us in Wales. We should make the most of our own royal families – including the Gwynedd dynasty, and especially Dafydd ap Llywelyn, who was the first prince to proclaim himself “Prince of Wales”.
Dafydd was the favourite son of legendary Welsh prince Llywelyn the Great and although Dafydd’s life was cruelly cut short, he succeeded in cementing a respected legacy that has thankfully survived eight centuries. His life, during the first half of the 13th century, is vividly portrayed in this refreshing account.
Dafydd was born around 1215 at a Welsh royal court called Castell Hen Blas which was situated in the medieval manor of Coleshill, near Flint. Dafydd ruled as Prince of Gwynedd and Wales between the years 1240–46 and he became the first Welsh prince to officially use the prestigious title of Prince of Wales. During the period of his brief reign he fought two wars of defence against the kingdom of England.
As the author states, “Dafydd ap Llywelyn deserves to be placed alongside those other great Welsh rulers of the Mediaeval age, including Hywel Dda, Rhodri Mawr, the two Llywelyns and Owain Glyndŵr and this account shall hopefully encourage such a defining prospect, aiding the campaign for his seemingly obscure name to be finally included within the realm of the modern-day Welsh psyche.”
Steve Griffiths, who lives in Flintshire, is a tireless pioneer for the cause of Welsh history. He played a prominent role in the successful implementation of commemorative plaques recounting the history of Ewloe and Bagillt. He has recently staged a month long exhibition at Buckley Library entitled ‘A Chronicle of Welsh Princes’.
The book which contains over 60 photographs of sites important in the life of Dafydd ap Llywelyn, and has been reviewed and commentated upon by local Welsh Assembly Member Carl Sargeant, Minsiter for Social Justice and Local Government.
The book is published by Y Lolfa in April and retails at £5.95.