When did Charles become Prince of Wales? Who held royal title before new King, who is it after Queen’s death?

The Prince of Wales title was first conferred to an English Royal Family member in 1301

King Charles III has acceded the throne following the death of the Queen at Balmoral Castle earlier in September.

Her Majesty’s passing has changed the Royal Family’s line of succession, with Prince William becoming heir to the throne. It has also seen Charles inherit the huge fortune that belongs to the crown, with his eldest son inheriting assets like the Duchy of Cornwall.

But has Prince William inherited the Prince of Wales title Charles used to hold - and what is the history of the Prince of Wales?

Ahead of King Charles’ visit to Wales, NationalWorld has taken a look.

King Charles III acceded the throne after the death of the Queen (image: Getty Images)

What is the Prince of Wales title?

The Prince of Wales title has been conferred on English Royal Family members since 1301. But the title existed before this time.

The origins of the title are believed to date back to 1137, with the last Welsh Prince of Wales being Llywelyn the Last.

Llywelyn the Last was the grandson of the last Welsh King of Wales - Llywelyn the Great - who was defeated by the Anglo-Norman dynasty in 1240. He gave himself the title when he led a failed attempt to retake his ancestor’s lands in 1258.

Prince William is now the heir to the throne (image: Getty Images)

In 1301, the title was conferred to the future King Edward II - the eldest son of Edward I. This move was symbolic of England’s conquest of Wales. Ever since, the title has almost always been given to the monarch’s eldest male heir.

The Prince of Wales can grant Royal Warrants to companies, but the title is otherwise a largely symbolic one.

When did Charles become Prince of Wales?

Charles became the 21st Prince of Wales when the Queen handed him the title on 26 July 1958. He was only nine-years-old at the time.

The title had previously jumped a generation. The last Prince of Wales had been the future Edward VIII - the only King to have abdicated of their own accord in modern British history.

Charles was formally invested as the Prince of Wales in 1969 (image: AFP/Getty Images)

The future King Charles was not invested - i.e. formally conferred the rank - until 1 July 1969 when he was 20. The ceremony took place at a grand ceremony at Caernarfon Castle.

He had taken a course in the Welsh language at the University College of Wales at Aberystwyth for a term in 1969 prior to his investiture. Charles was the longest-serving Prince of Wales in UK history.

Is Prince William Prince of Wales now?

The Prince of Wales title is not automatically given to the eldest male heir.

Rather, they have to be granted the title by the reigning monarch because the title is merged in the Crown and is therefore granted at the King or Queen’s pleasure.

William’s wife Catherine will become the Princess of Wales - the first person to hold this title since Princess Diana.

It’s unlikely Prince William will be invested at Caernarfon Castle (image: AFP/Getty Images)

In his speech, Charles III said: said: “With Catherine beside him, our new Prince and Princess of Wales will, I know, continue to inspire and lead our national conversations, helping to bring the marginal to the centre ground where vital help can be given.”

It is unlikely Prince William will be invested into the title in the same manner as his father. The Royal town of Caernarfon in North Wales is one of the centres of the Welsh independence movement.

The Prince of Wales title is controversial in Wales because nationalists argue it is a symbol of England’s subjugation of Wales.

Nationalists having set up a petition calling for the title to be scrapped. So far, almost 30,000 people have signed the Change.org petition.