Secrets of Great British Castles (2015–…): Season 1, Episode 4 - Caernarfon Castle - full transcript

Historian Dan Jones explores the turbulent history of one of Britain's most famous castles, Caernarfon. Dan is in the heart of Snowdonia exploring a stronghold built not only as an ...

DAN JONES: For me a great British castle
is a fortress, a palace, a home.

And a symbol of power, majesty, and fear.

For nearly a thousand years,

castles have shaped Britain's
famous landscape.

These magnificent buildings have been home
to some of the greatest heroes

and villains in our national history.

And many of them
still stand proudly today,

bursting with incredible stories
of warfare,

treachery, intrigue, and even murder.

Join me, Dan Jones,

as I uncover the secrets behind
six great British castles.

This time, I'm exploring one of the most
stunning castles in the land.

This fortress was built on tyranny
and has survived the bloodiest rebellion.

It's a great Welsh castle,
where love and sex,

birth and death, all come together.

And beneath it all is a power struggle

that helped create Britain
as we know it today.

Do you want subtitles for any video?
-=[ ]=-

Today, Caernarfon is
a quaint little seaside town

where busloads of tourists
come for day trips.

And the reason it has so many visitors
is its castle.

Caernarfon doesn't just look
like the perfect medieval castle,

it's a place that's right at the heart
of the story of Britain.

A story of myth,
legend, rebellion, conquest,

and the struggle for the right
to call yourself Prince of Wales.

NEWSCASTER: The gray fortress
was a place of rejoicing on this day.

While the crowds cheered their monarch,

the young prince, with a dignity
and assurance belying his years...

JONES: In the summer of 1969,

Charles Windsor, the Queen's eldest son,
was created Prince of Wales.

The ceremony was rich in significance,

and so was the place it was held.

NEWSCASTER: A modern prince
in a medieval castle

kneeling before the Queen.

To live and die
against all manner of folks.

JONES: It's no accident that the heir
to the throne of England

has been called the Prince of Wales.

And Caernarfon Castle
is at the center of that story.

Today, the title Prince of Wales
is largely symbolic,

but in the past,
its power has been very real.

The Prince has been someone
to save Wales, to protect Wales,

and to control Wales.

And all that real and symbolic power
comes together here at Caernarfon Castle.

The Queen knew it when she invested
Prince Charles on this spot.

And the man who built this castle,
King Edward I, well, he certainly knew it.

This is a brute of a fortress.

Caernarfon Castle
is unashamedly intimidating.

And so was the man who built it
at the end of the 13th century.

Wherever Edward I went,

he left his mark
on the landscape in stone.

Here at Caernarfon,

he created one of Britain's
most impressive castles

to show off English dominance over Wales.

But before any of that could happen,
he had to crush the Welsh.

In 1274, Edward I returned
from the Crusades

to be officially crowned King of England.



JONES: But for Edward,
an ambitious warrior king,

ruling England would never be enough.



JONES: The new king had set
his sights on something

that for 200 years

no English ruler had ever managed to do.

He wanted to conquer Wales.

And Caernarfon Castle
would be at the center of this conquest.

It was said that the Welsh were very easy
to beat in a single battle,

but very difficult to beat in a war.

The Welsh were masters
of what we'd now call guerilla warfare.

They used the terrain and the weather
to their advantage,

and they specialized
in ambush and night attacks.

To the outside world
and particularly the English,

they were noble savages with long hair

and bare legs against whom
the normal rules of war didn't apply.

Here, in the forests of Snowdonia,
just a few miles from Caernarfon,

the powerful native Prince of Wales,
Llywelyn ap Gruffudd

had waged sporadic war
against the English for many years.

In 1276, Edward set out to destroy him.

By the summer of 1277,

Edward had raised a massive army
of 15,500 men,

10 times as many
as he had taken on Crusade.

Edward's invasions of Wales
were real shock-and-awe affairs,

literally cut a swathe straight through
the forests of north Wales.

As he went, he seized castles,

took at least seven
from the native Welsh princes.

But better than that, he also had a plan.

A radical new weapon
for the total conquest of Wales.

That new weapon was stone.

Edward needed to secure his victory
and power over the Welsh.

He commanded his engineers to create
a ring of castles around north Wales

reaching from Aberystwyth to Conwy.

In each castle he could leave
a permanent garrison of soldiers.

At the first sniff of Welsh rebellion
they could ride out and crush it.

Edward's troops
tore through the countryside

leaving their marks of conquest
on the landscape

like the blows of a great stone hammer.

And nowhere did that hammer
fall harder or sink deeper

than here at Caernarfon.

Stuart, here we are on the edge
of Snowdonia, next to the water.

Why is Caernarfon Castle here?

It's part of a chain of castles,
the Ring of Iron.

Okay, so,

the last bastion of Welsh resistance
to the English

was essentially centered in north Wales
around Snowdonia.

It was the rebel base, if you like.

And so Edward needed to find a way

to suppress that, kind of,
continual rebellion.

So what he did was he constructed
a chain of fortresses around Snowdonia,

a whole series of them.

This is one of those castles.

So, essentially you've got
a continual reminder,

if you like, that your land has been taken
and it can be held against you.

So this castle is all about Edward I
stamping English power in a ring

right round Snowdonia,
right in the heart of rebellious Wales?

You've got it in one, and if you build
in stone, you're there to stay.

JONES: Edward was determined

that Caernarfon would be a fortress like
nothing the Welsh had ever seen before.

Work on the castle started in 1283.

To oversee construction,

Edward hired one of Europe's
greatest military architects,

Master James of St. George
from Savoy in eastern France.

Over the next 12 years,

Master James would design
six of Edward's castles.

Caernarfon shows us the very best
of his skill and experience.

Now, Master James didn't build
Caernarfon Castle all on his own.

He was a sort of master foreman

who specialized in putting up castles
in double-quick time,

four to eight years in most cases.

And of course,
that took a lot of manpower.

In 1285, there were 1,000 men
working on Caernarfon Castle alone.

He used cutting-edge technology
to create a siege-proof castle,

and nowhere was that more evident
than at Caernarfon's main entrance.

The King's Gate was the most fearsome
threshold of any British castle.

So, Stuart, this is the nice tourist
entrance way to the castle at the moment,

but actually, this would have been
one of the most dangerous bits

of the castle to be in, wouldn't it?

Basically, this was a gateway
like none other.

It's complete overkill.

This thing ran all the way past you
and right round the corner.

So it was a big, kind of, you know,
angled structure, right-angled structure,

and within that structure, five gates.

JONES: One after the other,
just in sequence like that?

Up above you've got
the classic murder holes

where the hot sand
is being poured through,

goes in all the chinks
in the armor, burns you alive.

And then, either side of you,
you've actually got arrow slits.

It is a statement, as well, about power,

obviously, but, I mean, it does make
this gateway absolutely indestructible.

JONES: The Welsh trembled
in the shadow of Caernarfon Castle,

and its warlord, Edward I.

But what they didn't know,

was that one woman
had a huge influence over the King,

the castle and the future of Wales.

She was Edward's queen,
Eleanor of Castile.

The conquest of Wales

was driven by one of the greatest
love stories of the Middle Ages.

To secure his conquest of Wales,

the great English warrior king Edward I,

built a massive ring of stone castles

to scare the natives
into total submission.

Caernarfon was the bedrock
of this conquest.

If you want to subjugate
an entire land and its people,

this is how you do it.

Caernarfon wasn't just
supposed to be a great fortress.

It was also intended to be
a magnificent royal palace.

He needed a palace,

because when he wasn't fighting,
Edward was building a large royal family.

He did it with the support
of his beloved wife, Eleanor.

She was a powerful
and intriguing woman from Northern Spain.

Edward loved his queen deeply,

which for arranged
royal marriages was pretty rare.

To bring Wales under the rule
of the English Crown,

Edward and Eleanor
came up with a brilliant political plan.

And how much of a political influence
do you think Eleanor was on Edward?

I think she was a huge political influence

because she came from
a family which thought very deeply

about what the role of a king should be,

and also what the role of
a conquering king should be in pacifying

a conquered nation.

And so she had all the theory behind her,

which the English kings frankly lacked
in the recent years in terms of conquest.

And so she was very much
able to advise him in terms of

military approaches and administration.

There has been this idea
that she was the, kind of,

perfect medieval, submissive queen.

Whereas the real woman
was very dynamic, very intellectual,

um, very hard in some ways.

A very successful businesswoman
who built up a massive property empire,

which kept the queens
of England solvent for centuries.

JONES: Sara, history remembers
Master James of St. George

for physically building the castles

and Edward for having
the political vision,

but are we overlooking Eleanor's role?

Well, I think when you look
at the design elements of the castle,

I see an influence from her
in the very shape of the Eagle Tower,

which does have a resonance
of the Castilian seal,

which was a polygonal tower with
three turrets just like the Eagle Tower.

JONES: So the Eagle Tower
which we see here

with its three turrets
and its polygonal shape

is a symbol of Castile?

A polygonal tower with three turrets
was the symbol of Castile.

JONES: For the ambitious King Edward,
military rule alone wasn't enough.

To make his power permanent,

he had to seal his conquest in blood.

Edward had his defensive ring of castles
with Caernarfon as the jewel in the Crown.

Now, could Eleanor give him the one thing
he needed to solidify political power?

A prince.

By the time construction
on the castle had started in 1283,

Eleanor and Edward had had 15 children.

Their eldest son Alphonso,

was heir to the throne,
but many of the others had died young.

For insurance,

Edward was desperate
for another male child.

So Eleanor, like all
aristocratic mothers-to-be,

turned to the latest, and weirdest,

medical advice to help her
conceive another boy.

After all, the future
of the dynasty depended on it.

So, Lydia, how did people think
about conception in the Middle Ages?

They did come up with different remedies.

Um, so for example,
if a woman wanted to not conceive,

they would say
to take body parts of animals

and to put them around her neck
and wear those during sexual intercourse,

to stop her from having a conception.

So literally a necklace
with different parts of...

Literally around her neck, yeah.

JONES: And as we know, politically,

in the Middle Ages, it was better
to have a son than a daughter, alas.

How did people in medieval times

try and make sure they conceived
a son instead of a daughter?

there's lots of little things

that they tend to go about doing
during the act of sexual intercourse.

So for example,
if a woman clenches her fist

during intercourse,
that's said to conceive a male.

Um, if the male has strong virulent
thoughts during sexual intercourse,

then he should be
then able to conceive a male.

If he looks towards
the direction of the sun,

then hopefully he will be
able to conceive a male child as well.

So there's different
combinations of almost a folkloric,

and a medical tradition that tend to find
their way into medieval medical manuals.

So presumably,
if you put them all together,

-clench your fists, look at the sun...

And what was the other one?
I can't remember.

Then your chances are gonna be tripled.

Um, one would hope, but I'm pretty sure

it didn't actually
have that much of an effect.

Very much a placebo effect, possibly.

JONES: Edward and Eleanor arrived
here in Caernarfon in July 1283,

just after building work
started on the castle.

And straightaway,
Eleanor conceived her next child.

So you have to ask,

was that an act of passion brought on
by the romantic Welsh countryside?

Well, far more likely
it was an act of hard-nosed politics.

But this would only pay off
if she had a son.

Nine months later,

Edward asked the heavily pregnant Eleanor

to make a long journey

from the east of England
to northwest Wales.

Edward's queen was
to give birth to a prince,

and she was going to do it
in Caernarfon Castle.

Was it more dangerous,

in some ways, to give birth
as a queen than as, say, a farmer's wife?

Um, I would say yes, mostly because
there was a lot more pressure

as well that came with the birth.

So, that obviously

would put a lot more stress
on the woman herself.

If you combine that
with someone like Eleanor,

who's constantly on the road,
she's constantly being jostled around,

the roads are not smooth,
they're very bumpy.

And if you're quite pregnant at this time,

already dealing with the stress
of having lost so many children

and lost so many heirs
and wanting to produce a son,

that would have caused a much more
dangerous situation for her.

By all accounts,
the medieval birthing chamber

would have been a very terrible place.

They would have closed the windows,
um, shut the woman in.

They thought the air coming in
would have been bad for the child.

So, it would have been a very hot,

miserable, damp place
to have to deliver a baby.


And obviously, but if you're
a woman like Eleanor of Castile,

it's a little more difficult

if you're in the middle
of so much political disarray,

obviously, with Edward's wars going on

and, um, having to be in an
unfinished building, and everything else.

It wouldn't have been
the most comfortable place to be.

So it's quite unusual,

um, for a queen to ever really
have a nice calm, safe pregnancy.

They always seem to be jostled
about or on the road somehow.

Poor Eleanor, and she
went through this, what, 16-18 times.

Mmm-hmm. Over the course
of the better part of two decades. Yes.

JONES: On the 25th of April, 1284,
Eleanor gave birth to her 16th child.

Since the castle
was still under construction,

the child was probably born
in a temporary outbuilding.

But all the danger
and discomfort was worth it.

Eleanor had a son.

They named him Edward after his father.

An English prince born in Wales.

Edward had huge political intelligence.

He was a master of what
we'd now call propaganda or PR.

Edward was determined
to win over the Welsh,

and legend has it,
one of the tricks he pulled

was to promise he'd name
one of their own as Prince of Wales,

only to present them
with his own infant son,

saying he gave them
a prince born in Wales,

who did not speak a word of English.

The new prince
arrived in the nick of time.

Just four months after Edward was born,

his older brother Alphonso died.

The new baby was heir to the throne.

And from now on,

"Prince of Wales"
would be an English title

forever linked to Caernarfon Castle.

But let's not forget
about the child's mother.

Eleanor was 42
when Prince Edward was born.

She'd bear 16 kids at least, for the king,
that's one every 18 months.

Between the perils of childbirth,

her loyalty to her husband
and a desire to travel,

she'd eventually work herself to death
at the age of 49.

Eleanor died from fever in 1290.

Her death brought one chapter
of Caernarfon's history to a close,

and it left Edward almost inconsolable.

To honor her memory,

Edward ordered the building
of 12 great memorial crosses

along the route of her funeral procession,

all the way from Lincoln to London.

The last of these
was at the village of Charing,

now called Charing Cross.

In December 1290,

Eleanor was interred
here at Westminster Abbey.

Her tomb lies near her husband Edward's.

Now close in death, as they were in life.

Queen Eleanor had died helping
bring Wales under English control.

But the conquest of its resilient
and defiant people

was far from complete.

Edward had land, he had his castle,

he had a prince, but he still didn't have
complete political control

because outside these walls
there was still serious unrest.

And Caernarfon would be at the center
of a new Welsh rebellion.

Caernarfon Castle was a powerful symbol
of Edward I's conquest of Wales.

It was also the birthplace of his son,
the next in line to the English throne.

But the Welsh weren't
about to take this lying down.

Rebellion was coming.

Edward and his army of builders didn't
just put up this magnificent castle,

they also created a bustling town
protected by steep town walls,

which they filled with English settlers

and made it very clear
that the Welsh were not welcome.

The natives were treated
as second-class citizens

with limited status and rights.

They were banned from the fortified town
at night,

and only allowed in on market days.

It was a form of legal apartheid
in which the English were the masters

and the Welsh were an underclass.

The Welsh resented Edward's taxes,

they resented being made to pay him homage

and they resented not having the same
rights as their English conquerors.

But the final straw came
when Edward tried to raise Welsh troops

for a campaign in Gascony.

Under a new rebel leader
Madog ap Llywelyn,

Wales would rise up

and threaten to destroy everything
that Edward had established.

In 1294, they seized their chance.

Madog had raised an army, and across Wales

English strongholds were besieged
and towns burned.

Edward's ring of stone
was being destroyed.

But all of this would mean nothing
if the Welsh didn't take Caernarfon.

Caernarfon was supposed to be
the impregnable fortress.

After all, thousands of men had worked
for 11 years on building it.

But for all its amazing design
and its military and symbolic might,

there was one problem.

These massive northern walls
weren't finished,

in part because on this side, the castle
was protected by the town walls,

but not on market day.

That was the one day of the week

that locals could come freely
in and out of town.

And that's exactly what the rebels did.

They just marched into the most
heavily fortified place in the land

and burned whatever they could.

You can imagine
how Edward felt about that.

The King was furious.

In December 1294,

Edward marched into north Wales
at the head of an army of 37,000 men.


Within eight months,
despite fierce resistance from the Welsh,

the rebellion was crushed.

Madog was imprisoned in London,
where he'd spend the rest of his days.

Edward had learned a lesson,

and he put all his effort and money
into rebuilding the castle.

But he would never see it finished.

Edward I died in 1307
while waging war against Scotland.

He was one of the most powerful
and intimidating monarchs

ever to wear the English Crown.

By the time Edward I died,

Caernarfon Castle was militarily intact
and reinforced,

looming over the town around it.

But behind the walls it was unfinished.

Apart from Prince Edward's birth,
there had been no royal residents,

and it didn't have an active
military function either.

All the same, what remained was a magical,

fairytale castle just waiting
for its next King Arthur.

For the next hundred years,
a succession of English kings

would keep their boots
on the throats of the native Welsh.

But the Madog rebellion
had planted the seeds of independence,

and at the start of the 15th century,

during the reign of Henry IV,

a new leader rose up to take his place
as the greatest rebel hero of Wales.

His name was Owain Glyn Dwr.

Owain Glyn Dwr was an educated man.

He was a lawyer and a landowner.

He'd been in the service of English kings,

but he also really understood
his own native mythology.

And that's why,
when he raised his flag of rebellion

here on Twthill above Caernarfon,

it was the flag of Uther Pendragon,
King Arthur's legendary father.


Pretty much every culture has its version
of the Arthurian myth,

the native hero hiding in a cave
waiting to rise again.

Today we think of King Arthur
as an English hero.

But it's the Welsh who have always
regarded themselves as the native Britons,

and the Saxons and the Normans
as the foreign oppressors.

So Arthur is a Welsh hero,
a Welsh savior and a Welsh king.

Owain was appealing to the prophecy

that a great man would rise again to lead
the British, or in this case the Welsh,

against the foreign oppressor.

And that's exactly what happened.

His rebellion became
a 15-year national war

of Welsh against English.

And he, more than anyone else,
would put Caernarfon Castle to the test.

The rebellion began in 1400.

Owain's goal was not
just to take Wales back,

but to reclaim
the title of Prince of Wales.

Glyn Dwr went back to the tried-and-tested
methods of guerilla warfare.

He was supported by friends,

cousins and local lords.

But what scared Henry the most

was the thought that the Welsh
were protected by magic,

myth, and even King Arthur.

And it looked like Henry was right.

As the war intensified, even the weather
seemed to conspire against him.


Heavy rain caused flooding
and broke up his armies.

The very elements appeared to have
sided with Owain and the Welsh.

And as if that wasn't enough,
in February 1402,

a great comet appeared in the heavens,

hung around for three months,
and for eight days

it was bright enough to see
even in broad daylight.

That sort of thing was enough to scare

the life out of even the toughest
medieval mind.

The comet's described in a poem,
which says,

"The comet in the sky
See ye that blazing star

"The heavens look down on Freedom's War

"And light her torch on high
Bright upon the dragon's crest

"It tells that glory's wings will rest
When warriors meet to die"

But to make matters worse for the English,

Glyn Dwr had a new and powerful supporter,

the king of France.

If Glyn Dwr could take Caernarfon,

he would achieve
more than just a military victory.

It would symbolize the end of more than
a century of English rule in Wales.

It's one thing having God on your side,
but it's even better to have the French.

They came to support Glyn Dwr
in December 1403.

They blockaded the Celtic
and the Irish Seas

and they brought the latest military
technology to help take the castle.

Siege engines, belfries,
and battering rams.

But Caernarfon was no ordinary castle.

The heavy gates where built
to resist battering rams.

The high walls, peppered with murder holes
and narrow windows were unscalable.

Against the combined might of the Welsh
and French forces,

Caernarfon's garrison comprised
just 28 soldiers.

Astonishingly, that's all
the English needed.

So, Stuart, it's 1403,

this castle's surrounded by
Owain Glyn Dwr's men,

all his French allies,

but it was defended,
the records say, by 28 men.

How on earth could 28 men
defend this castle?

If we go up to the tower, I'll show you.

You'll notice that there are
no big windows in this castle.

It's all arrow slits, arrow loops.

JONES: All these tiny, little...

And you've got all these amazing passages,

which you can move from place to place
within the castle,

unseen from tower to tower,
from upper ward to lower ward,

completely enclosed and defended,

without the enemy seeing your movements.

So they've got no idea,
when they approach this castle,

how many men are defending it.

They've got no clue.

This is one of the towers

that projects out through
the main sort of wall of the castle.

JONES: Yeah.

And as you can see,
what's really unique about this tower,

and in fact the polygonal towers
here in general,

is the fact that you've got
three really large arrow slits, right?

And basically, the guys outside,

because of the sunlight
and the light outside

and the difference of the darkness inside,
they can't see us.

So we're totally invisible here.

-We're invisible, basically.
-We've almost got, sort of,

well, it's 180 degree kind of
range of fire out of here.

That's right, that's right.

So you can defend this whole side
just from these three little arrow slits.

Basically, imagine that you've got
your attacking force out there.


And I can give you
a demonstration of that.

Obviously, we can't use longbows, right?
As much as I'd love to.

But unfortunately, we're surrounded
by members of the public now, right?

-But I do have an alternative for you.
-Well, come on then.

So, here's the challenge.

-So this is the modern longbow.

-There is, unbeknownst to you...
-I won't point it at you. enemy gathering outside your castle.

JONES: Right, okay.

There are men
actually out there gathering.

You are about to be attacked.


And as the 28 men did in the past,

we have to defend this castle.

Well, you'd better
grab yours as well, then.

-Right, well, where do we hit first?

We've got three options.

Shall I take that one
and you take this one?

Okay, no, I'll take that one,
you take that one.

Okay, go for it.


PRIOR: See them? See them?

JONES: Yeah, and I think
I got one as well.

PRIOR: So, every time you hit them...


One of the sensors on their head

will actually flash red.

JONES: Oh, yeah. Oh, I got one.

Oh no, I think that was
just a passing lady, actually.

In fact, it only takes
the two of us, really.

PRIOR: To defend this bit of the castle,
it does indeed.

All right, get away.

Okay, don't forget,
at the front of this castle

-you've got water-filled ditches.

You've also got things like
the murder holes in the gateways

which you can pour red-hot sand through.

Well, we could clear this place out
pretty quickly, I think.

But, Stuart, in 1403,

the attackers outside
weren't just on foot,

they had sows and belfries as well.

What would that have been like?

PRIOR: The walls
in this place are so thick

that it's just not gonna work.

JONES: So actually,
this place is virtually...


The only thing that would have
brought this place low, all right?

Is a massive trebuchet.


Which the records tell us,
they didn't have.

So, had they brought a trebuchet,

they could gradually have pounded
their way through the wall.

But apart from that, it was a lost cause.

So that explains then, 28 men, actually,

-pretty easy.
-It's impregnable.

-We could have done it with two.
-We could. (LAUGHING)

Well, it would have been
a lot of running around,

but yeah, we absolutely could.

Let's go and finish them off, then.

-Okay, let's do it.
-Come on.


JONES: Twice the Welsh
tried to take the castle.

Twice they failed.

Caernarfon really was siege-proof.

Over the next 10 years,

the Crown's forces clawed back
the territory they'd lost.

By 1415, Wales was back
in England's hands.

The leading rebels
were dead or imprisoned.

Owain Glyn Dwr
refused all offers of pardon.

He was never captured,

and eventually disappeared
without a trace.

Today, he's a hero of Welsh nationalism.

On a par with King Arthur himself.

Glyn Dwr was eventually cleared
as a traitor, but not until 1948,

more than 500 years after his rebellion.

But it didn't matter,
because by that time,

the Welsh dragon had found its way
onto the English throne.

For 200 years,
Caernarfon Castle in north Wales

had been the symbol of conquest
and the target of rebellion.

Now, it would bear witness
to the greatest sucker punch

in British history.

A Welshman was about
to seize the throne of England.

Here, just outside
the village of Penmynydd

on the island of Anglesey,

15 minutes away from Caernarfon Castle,

we can find the origins
of Britain's most famous royal dynasty,

the Tudors.

The Tudors of Penmynydd
were three brothers,

Rhys, Maredudd, and Gwilym.

They were cousins
and close allies of Owain Glyn Dwr

and they lived right here
in the house behind me.

I guess most people
when they hear the name Tudor,

think of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I
and the Royal Court in London,

but not many people know the dynasty
started right here in this house, do they?

No, I think that to come to have
such a great dynasty

founded from Owen Tudor who lived here,

born in 1400 here,

but the house here actually
predates even Caernarfon Castle

because we know
there was a house here in about 890

and it's even mentioned in a deed in 1221.

And so the connection
with Caernarfon Castle here,

the three Tudor brothers
that were connected with Owain Glyn Dwr,

they lived in this house as well?

They lived here,
they were his cousins, first cousins,

and many people think
that they were more instrumental

in actually raising a rebellion
than Owain Glyn Dwr.

So we know for certain that in 1406

every single person on Anglesey
who was a householder

was fined for supporting
the brothers who lived here.

And that was sort of their ruin
for a little while, wasn't it?

The family fell out of favor.

It was their ruin
for a number of years, yes.

JONES: The Tudors had picked
the wrong side in Glyn Dwr's rebellion,

but Maredudd ap Tudor survived,

and he had a son, Owen Tudor,

who made his way to the English court

and began an astonishing
upswing in the family fortunes.

Owen's grandson was Henry Tudor,

and that meant
that within three generations,

the Tudors had gone from guerilla warriors

to contenders for the English Crown.

The destiny of the Tudors was secured

in one of the most divisive
and bloody wars ever seen in Britain.


This 30-year conflict,
the Wars of the Roses,

would end with a great battle at Bosworth

between Richard III of York
and Henry Tudor,

the last hope of the Lancastrians.

On August 7th, 1485, Henry Tudor
landed on the southwest tip of Wales

and marched across the countryside

on his way to a date with destiny
at the Battle of Bosworth.

He marched below a flag
with the sign of the dragon,

casting himself once again
as the son of prophecy,

the heir of King Arthur
back to save the native Britons.

Henry's Welshness was a really
important part of his coming back

to claim the Crown of England,

it wasn't just him saying that
he was heir of the House of Lancaster.

He was claiming
this ancient prophecy made by Merlin

that said that one day
this great new king would arrive

and fulfill the destiny of the Britons.

And sure enough,

when Henry Tudor
was crowned King Henry VII,

he adopted the Welsh dragon
into his royal coat of arms.

From the Tudor years onwards,

Caernarfon's military significance
began to fade.

Eventually, the castle
became more interesting

to tourists and historians

than to soldiers and invaders.

But the symbolic power
of this magnificent fortress

would not be forgotten.

In the 20th century,

politicians once again began to explore
Caernarfon's ancient links to the Crown.

This armament a great idea.

And now here's
another thing I want to say.

I'm a free man now
and can say what I like.


JONES: David Lloyd George
was the first and only Welshman

to be prime minister of Great Britain,

and it was Lloyd George
who was responsible

for thrusting Caernarfon Castle
back into the spotlight

after centuries of obscurity.

Because it was here in July 1911,

that George V's son Edward
was invested as Prince of Wales

in a mock medieval ceremony

that was petitioned for by Lloyd George.

And in July 1969,

the investiture of Charles
as Prince of Wales

again invoked the royal symbolism
of Caernarfon Castle.


NEWSCASTER: The gold rod...


NEWSCASTER: ...and the mantle.

In giving to the Prince
these insignias of office,

the Queen could not conceal
the gentle touch of a mother.

Despite the formal text
of the Letters Patent

which proclaimed that
Charles Philip Arthur George

may have the name, style,
title, state, dignity and honor

of the Principality of Wales
and Earldom of Chester.

JONES: I think this castle still does
exactly what it was supposed to.

More than 700 years on
it's a physical sign

of the relationship
between these two nations.

The fierce independent Welsh dragon

and the imperious medieval English Crown.

At some point, there'll be
a new Prince of Wales invested,

we presume, here at Caernarfon,

and that ancient relationship
will continue.

Another great British moment,

played out in a magnificent Welsh castle. is deprecated, please
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