On Monday, Prince Charles, 69, and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, traveled to see the Prince of Wales Bridge that spans the River Severn between England and Wales.
The bridge is the main gateway to south Wales and was, until now, called the Second Severn Crossing. The rebranding was announced in April, but it became official today when Charles met staff at the bridge’s toll booths and unveiled a plaque confirming the name at nearby Newport.
The renaming is to honor the fact that he was given the title Prince of Wales 60 years ago, as well as his upcoming milestone 70th birthday in November.
In a moving speech, Charles said: “Over all these years, wherever I have been in Wales, my soul has never ceased to be stirred, and moved, by the majesty of her landscapes, by the richness and poignancy of her history, by the beauty of her ancient and precious language – ‘yr iaith Gymraeg’ – which I did my best to study for a period at Aberystwyth very nearly 50 years ago under the patient tutorship of the distinguished scholar Dr Teddy Millward – but most of all I have come to love and admire the character of her people: their passion, tenacity; their sense of fair play – ‘chwarae teg’ – and, of course, their humor. Wherever I go, I am acutely aware that to bear this name is the greatest possible honor.”
He added, ”So, in taking part in this occasion today, we are conscious of the history in whose shadow we stand.
It is, therefore, my particular hope that the Crossing’s new name will bring to mind all those who, over these long centuries, have borne that ancient title ‘Tywysogion Cymru’ and the different traditions and heritages that they represent. Like the tributaries of the Severn, our different pasts meet in a shared present. In such a coming together, while never forgetting where we have come from, we can, I hope, each in our own way, contribute to a better future for all.”
Charles and Camilla, 70, will spend the week in Wales, exploring various aspects of business, farming and heritage businesses in the cities and countryside as they highlight the rural and urban communities that make up the nation.
In a statement, the Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said, “Through his extensive charity work and support for Welsh business and enterprise His Royal Highness has given decades of continued, dedicated service to our nation. I hope that the new Prince of Wales bridge and its sister bridge will be seen as positive symbols of the newly invigorated economic, cultural and social opportunities that will present themselves to Wales, helping to make our nation fit for the future.”
On Tuesday, the royal couple will host an evening of music at Llwynywermod, the Welsh farmhouse near Llandovery, where they will be based for a few days. And later in the week, Charles will help host a garden party that will celebrate another milestone – the 70th birthday of the publicly-funded U.K.-wide National Health Service.
In April, Will and Kate announced the name of their third child, Prince Louis Arthur Charles. The royal baby’s middle names of Charles and Arthur hold special meaning. Charles, of course, is in honor of the baby boy’s grandfather, Prince Charles. And the name Arthur is a family tradition. Both dad William and grandfather Charles have it as a middle name. Arthur was also the name of Queen Victoria’s third son (and seventh child) and was said to be her favorite child.
“Louis” is likely a tribute to Prince Philip, whose grandfather was Prince Louis Alexander of Battenberg.