‘I’m Welsh and I’ve never heard of Owain Glyndŵr day’: Row breaks out after Michael Sheen criticised King Charles for visiting Cardiff on same day as celebration of last native Prince of Wales
- The Welsh actor called the King’s visit on Owain Glyndŵr day as ‘insensitive’
- September 16 1400 marks the start of a 15-year uprising against English rule
- The 15th Century revolt is considered to be the last Welsh war of independence
A row has broken out after Michael Sheen criticised King Charles III for visiting Cardiff on the same day as a medieval tradition celebrating the last native Prince of Wales.
The 53-year-old actor faced some backlash on social media after he called the King and Queen Consort’s trip on Owain Glyndŵr day as ‘insensitive’ and ‘insulting’.
On September 16 1400, a 15-year uprising against English rule started and was spearheaded by Owain Glyndŵr.
The revolt is considered to be the last Welsh war of independence and Glyndŵr has since been viewed as a figurehead of Welsh nationalism.
However one Welsh Twitter user wrote: ‘At the risk of insulting some of my fellow Welsh countrymen, no-one I know has ever heard of Owain Glyndŵr day. Sounds like it’s being used as a wilful insult the other way round.’
Another added: ‘I don’t share your views on Welsh independence and despite being a proud Welsh woman of nearly 50 years of age I’ve never heard of Owain Glyndŵr day before this year. I’d still like to express my admiration for the way you voice your argument, and for your principles.’
Actor Martin Sheen (pictured) noted that the visit by the new King and Queen Consort could be seen as ‘insensitive’ as it fell on September 16 – an important historic date for Wales
Some Twitter users disagreed with Michael Sheen’s rebuttal of the King and Queen Consort’s visit to Wales on the nation’s historic day
In the video footage, which has garnered more than 1m hits, Mr Sheen said there ‘is more than one story in these isles. There is more than one tradition, there is more than one history.’
The actor explained: ‘September 16 is the day that many people here in Wales celebrate Owain Glyndŵr, who was the last native Prince of Wales, self-proclaimed’.
Describing the period of time since her death at Balmoral, he said it had been ‘extraordinary’ and ‘very ’emotional’, an ‘era defining period of time’.
‘I offer my sincerest sympathy to Charles and his family on the loss of their mother, grandmother, and to everyone who’s feeling such depth of emotion and a sense of that loss,’ he said, noting that Her Majesty had been a ‘fixed point’ for so many people.
Glyndŵr led a rebellion against the English crown in 1400, to ‘not only to free his nation but to create his nation’, Michael explained.
He added: ‘[The rebellion] was eventually crushed, and that was the last time Wales had a native Prince of Wales.’
The tradition of naming a Prince of Wales was started by King Edward I, who named his son Prince Edward Prince of Wales, in a move Michael described as ‘a sort of symbolic act of rebuke or punishment and humiliation’.
‘And so this day, September 16, is important to many people in Wales,’ he said.
‘Because it marks the moment where Glyndŵr claimed the title of the Prince of Wales again’.
He said the two things – the King’s visit and Owain Glyndŵr day – are ‘clearly connected’.
King Charles (pictured) met members of the public as he left Cardiff Castle yesterday while in Wales as part of his tour of the four nations
King Charles III was seen meeting schoolchildren following a service of prayer and reflection for the life of Queen Elizabeth at Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff on Friday
The Queen Consort meeting members of the public who cheered as she and the King did a walkabout as she and her husband left Cardiff Castle in Wales
King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort waved as they arrived to receive a Motion of Condolence at the Senedd in Cardiff today
Michael explained: ‘To choose September 16 to come to Wales having only a short time ago proclaimed that he had created his son William as the new Prince of Wales and to choose this day September 16 to come here as his first visit as King seems full of meaning.’
If it had been done purposefully, he added, it could seen as ‘insensitive to the point of insulting’.
He continued: ‘If it was done without realising the significance of the date, then one does wonder what being Prince of Wales for so long actually meant if you’re not aware of what that day means.’
He added he wanted to add his voices to those of others who were noting the ‘irony’ of traditional Welsh celebrations being cancelled to accommodate an English monarch visiting.
‘I hope it’s not a declaration of intent, because that would be very concerning,’ he said.
King Charles announced last week that Prince William, 40, and his wife Kate Middleton, 40, would become the new Prince and Princess of Wales.
The royal couple released a statement following the announcement in which they spoke of their ‘deep affection’ for Wales, having made their first family home in Anglesey.