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REVIEW

Book: God Bless The Prince of Wales
Author: Major Francis Jones
Reviewer: E.V.J

(Carmarthenshire Community Council, 7s. 6d.)

The Investiture is now a vivacious memory some months old, but no apology is offered for noticing these votive essays at this late stage, for Major Francis Jones's book, written in celebration of the Prince's moment of dedication, is more than a souvenir of the occasion that inspired it. God Bless The Prince of Wales is a book of indelible value that deserves to be read one feels that it will for a long time to come.

Once again the author has made an important contribution to the study of local history; in it Carmarthenshire looms significantly but not exclusively, for the chosen canvas is much larger than that required for the purely local scene. To those for whom history is but dust Major Francis Jones brings lively stories, but never at the expense of the resolute research which is the unfailing mark of his work. To the students of history he brings scholarship which they will welcome on subjects that have not been abundantly treated. Both schools will derive pleasure according to their needs.

The first of the essays, from which the book receives its title, presents what surely must be all the known facts about the composition of the 'second National Anthem' by Brinley Richards to the words of Ceiriog after a chance meeting in a Caernarvon newspaper office over a century ago. But although the two worked in harmony, this story of a brilliant success is not without its unpleasant side. Triumph is a bandwagon that has to be defended against resourceful opportunism and this is demonstrated by the unseemly jealousy which blemished a worthy accomplishment, for after the entry of an English librettist, Ceiriog became the forgotten author sadly forced into the final indignity of striving to retrieve his rightful place in the limelight of public recognition. Ceiriog's original Welsh words are reprinted, but who uses them now? A reminder to sing `Ar D'wysog Gwlad y Bryniau' next time.

In the two essays concerning Prince Charles's Welsh lineage, Major Jones is able to give full rein to his prodigious knowledge as a genealogist. Englishmen boast of the Queen's long descent from Cerdic, the sixth century king of Wessex, but Major Francis Jones, being a Welshman who proclaims the genealogical triumph of Llewellyn the Great, can do better by tracing descent through fifteen hundred years from Cunedda, who founded his kingdom in north Wales in the fifth century. With the aid of many charts that contain a rich store of information the author shows the Prince's descent from all the main royal families that ruled in Wales, as well as from numerous other Welsh worthies.

Of special interest to Carmarthenshire people is the essay on the Prince's descent from the Dwnns, whose domain was in the south-east of the county, a lineage he can claim through the Queen Mother. But the genealogical essays are not tedious recitals of ancestral connexions; to read them is to be enchanted and to learn, among many other things, about the earliest known portrait of a Welshman, now in the National Gallery and commissioned five centuries ago by a Carmarthenshire man who accompanied an embassy to the court of the Duke of Burgundy.

In the last of the essays, Wales Herald applies himself to the task of redistributing credit for the holding of the 1911 investiture at Caernarvon and thus setting the precedent for the 1969 ceremony in the Royal Borough. Much detail is brought together to give a new interest to a captivating narrative in which Lloyd George's role is shown to be secondary to that of a Merionethshire man who became warden of Llandovery College and vicar of St Peters, Carmarthen before achieving the ultimate eminence in the Church in Wales.

A well-produced book with a colourful heraldic cover, this is a work of commanding interest that will also serve as a source of constant and invaluable reference within its specialised fields. Far-away friends and relatives will welcome it as a gift to remind them of Wales while giving them enduring pleasure.
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