A few weeks ago a memorial plaque which was dedicated to the Welsh Princess Gwenllian went missing from its usual location at the top of Snowdon. It has since been returned to the Princess Gwenllian society by a local man named Rhys Jones, but the plaque was found to be smashed.
The thirteenth century Princess is revered in Welsh history as she was the daughter of the last sovereign Prince of Wales Llewelyn ap Gruffudd. Gwenllian’s mother Eleanor de Montfort died giving birth to her and her father died shortly after this. The young girl was left in the care of her uncle Dayffd, but he was kidnapped and executed by the forces of King Edward I of England.
The Princess and her cousins were hastily moved from Gwynedd in Wales to priories in remote parts of Lincolnshire. The girls never saw Wales or their families again. Gwenllian was held prisoner for 54 years by Edward until her death, it is believed that she never learned to speak Welsh and did not know the pronunciation of her own name. In imprisoning the Welsh Princesses, King Edward made sure that no further claimants to the Welsh Principality could be born. King Edward then bestowed the title of Prince of Wales on his own son and aside from during the fifteenth century revolt by Owain Glyndŵr the title has since been held by the son of the English monarch.
Knowing the significance of Gwenllian to Welsh history, identity and culture it is shocking to discover that her memorial plaque has been destroyed in such a way. The plaque has evidently been removed from its usual setting, smashed and thrown away. The Princess Gwenllian society has been saddened by the vandalism and it is unknown when the memorial will be replaced or how much it will cost.