“This Prince of Wales has guarded the sacred duty of service and kept the fire, not only alight but burning more brightly with the passing years.”
These were some of the moving words spoken by Archbishop Justin Welby at Tuesday’s reception marking the 50th anniversary of the investiture of Prince Charles as the Prince of Wales.
Caernarfon Castle in Wales was the setting for the July 1969 investiture ceremony, and 50 years later Buckingham Palace served as the backdrop for the anniversary celebration.
Members of the Royal Family gathered at the palace to honour the Prince of Wales at the reception, including The Queen, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Princess Royal, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Prime Minister Theresa May also was in attendance.
The Archbishop of Canterbury praised Charles for his dedication and service during his speech, which read, in part:
“Ich Dien”, I serve, is in the present tense. It is a present continuous, a duty that goes on. As His Royal Highness says, there is always more to do.
But it is much more, for it is also a statement of character, and the more exalted the role, the more demand there is on the character.
When you are second in the land, to serve is not automatic, human nature relishes leisure and privilege: serving requires discipline, values, a moral drive that sees service as virtue.
Never in the history of the role can there have been such dedicated service, such honourable fulfilling of the promise at the Investiture, “I, Charles, Prince of Wales, do become your liege man of life and limb and of earthly worship, and faith and truth I bear unto you, to live and die against all manner of folks.”
The anniversary reception welcomed representatives from Welsh charities and businesses that Charles has been associated with over the years, including some of the Prince of Wales’s patronages. One of them, the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, performed for guests at the event.
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall also met with members of the Welsh band Stereophonics, which received a grant from The Prince’s Trust when they were first starting out.
Prince Charles is the longest-serving Prince of Wales in history. An event in Wales is said to be taking place in July to further commemorate the anniversary, although nothing has been confirmed by the palace yet.