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Early reviews and reports about season 3 of The Crown note that one episode, "Twysog Cymru," tells the story of Prince Charles' time in Wales. (opens in new tab) Per Wales Online, the storyline will involve the young prince being under the instruction of Welsh nationalist tutor Edward Millward, played by Mark Lewis Jones (opens in new tab)—as happened in real life.
In 1969, Prince Charles spent a term (the British version of a semester) at the University College of Wales in Aberystwyth, now known as Aberystwyth University, studying Welsh history and language, before his formal investiture as Prince of Wales. (You can learn more about what an investiture is here (opens in new tab)).
Part of Charles' work was to learn about the history of Wales and show respect for the title he was inheriting—some Welsh citizens supported his royal presence, while others resented a British royal inhabiting a title that was forcibly taken from them in the 13th century. With this in mind, the tutor selected for Charles was Welsh nationalist Edward Millward (opens in new tab), who was apparently "surprised" to learn he'd be working with the young royal given his political affiliations. Here's what we know about the tutor, who had an important impact on the young royal.
Millward is a Welsh nationalist.
In an 2015 op-ed in The Guardian, (opens in new tab)Millward described his role as a Welsh nationalist, which began in 1962:
When the great Welsh critic Saunders Lewis gave a radio lecture early in 1962 on the fate of the Welsh language, it was like a call to arms for a young nationalist like me. Welsh wasn’t spoken publicly and was being badly neglected. Many scholars like myself were worried: Lewis’s lecture inspired us to do something about it.
Millward helped form the Welsh Language Society and became active in political party Plaid Cymru. He advocated for the preservation of Welsh culture and language, and his activism included protests and demonstrations. He was also a lecturer at the University College of South Wales.
Eventually, he was elected as Vice-President of Plaid, but stepped down in 1968 to tutor Charles. He went on to be a Plaid spokesperson after his time with Charles had come to an end. "We’ve lost speakers over the years, but Welsh language schools are flourishing. I may be 84 now, but I’m hopeful for its future," he explained about his work in his Guardian op-ed.
He and Charles had a good relationship.
Millward explained in the op-ed that he enjoyed working with Charles: "He had a one-on-one tutorial with me once a week. He was eager, and did a lot of talking. By the end, his accent was quite good. Toward the end of his term, he said good morning—'Bore da'—to a woman at college; she turned to him and said: “I don’t speak Welsh!” His presence caused a bit of a stir. Crowds would gather outside the college as he drove up in his sports car."
The role of Millward is being played by Mark Lewis Jones:
Jones is a Welsh actor, which makes sense since there is a lot of Welsh needed in that particular episode, and the language has a unique pronunciation (which is thoroughly explored in the episode—Charles needs his entire speech written out phonetically). The episode goes more in depth into the relationship between the two, with Millward coaching and inspiring Charles to learn more about the language and culture.
The Crown portrays Millward pretty accurately.
Spoilers for season three. Unlike other side characters in season three that don't actually exist (John Armstrong, I'm looking at you), (opens in new tab)Millward's depiction seems fairly accurate. Initially thrown by the news he'd be coaching Prince Charles—it's been reported that he was "surprised," given Millward's political affiliations, and who wouldn't be?—he came to respect Charles, who did, as is shown in the episode, insist on giving his investiture speech in the native Welsh language. As has been made clear by Millward's comments in the years since, while he may not agree with what Charles represented, he certainly thought Charles worked hard under his tutelage.
It's not clear whether some of those exact interactions actually occurred, and we can assume many did not—for example, the mortifying dinner party moment in which Millward harshly scolds Charles for making light of his lack of knowledge about Wales, Welsh culture, and the origin of his own title—but what does seem clear is that Millward did have an impact on Charles, who has since bought land in Wales and visited the country many times since his semester there, and the two shared a mutual respect.
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Katherine’s a Boston-based contributor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle—from “Clueless” to Everlane to news about Lizzo. She’s been a freelancer for 11 years and has had roles with Cosmopolitan and Bustle, with bylines in Parents, Seventeen, and elsewhere. It’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.
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