The investiture of The Prince of Wales, during which the 20-year-old Prince received the insignia as the 21st Prince of Wales from The Queen, took place on 1st July 1969, at Caernarfon Castle in front of 4,000 guests inside the medieval walls.
Thousands more were in the dry moat and outside the castle, and millions around the world watched on television.
The Queen had created her eldest son Prince of Wales when he was nine years old. The Queen later let it be known that the Investiture would be held when The Prince was old enough to understand fully its significance.
In a ceremony with many historic echoes, directed largely by the Constable of the Castle, Lord Snowdon, The Queen invested The Prince with the Insignia of his Principality and Earldom of Chester: a sword, coronet, mantle, gold ring and gold rod.
The Prince’s formal response was: “I, Charles, Prince of Wales, do become your liege man of life and limb and of earthly worship and faith and truth I will bear unto you to live and die against all manner of folks.”
A loyal address from the people of Wales was read in Welsh and English by Sir Ben Bowen Thomas, President of the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, where The Prince had studied Welsh language and history in the months before the ceremony.
In his address the President said the Principality looked forward to a period when The Prince would associate himself personally with its tradition and language, its aspirations and problems. “In this confidence and hope we greet him and declare our loyalty.”
The Prince of Wales replied in Welsh and English. In the Welsh part of his speech, he said it was his firm intention to associate himself with as much of the life of the Principality as possible.
He said: “It is with a certain sense of pride and emotion that I have received these symbols of office, here in this magnificent fortress, where no one could fail to be stirred by its atmosphere of time-worn grandeur, nor where I myself could be unaware of the long history of Wales and its determination to remain individual and to guard its own particular heritage – a heritage that dates back into the mists of ancient British history, that has produced many brave men, princes, poets, bards, scholars, and, more recently, great singers, a very memorable ‘Goon’, and eminent film stars. All these people have been inspired in some way by this heritage.”
In English, The Prince spoke of his determination to try to live up to the changing demands on a Prince of Wales, adding: “One thing I am clear about, and it is that Wales needs to look forward without forsaking the traditions and essential aspects of her past. The past can be just as much a stimulus to the future as anything else.”
After a short religious service in both languages, The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, led The Prince to Queen Eleanor’s Gate, looking out over Caernarfon’s Castle Square, and presented him to the crowds below.