The Last Welsh Princess of Wales

Online Research seminar: Wed 8 December 1.15pm

Dr Rhea Seren Phillip

This paper will discuss identity, memory and uses of the past, along with global interactions and connections which have a Welsh association. The primary focus of the paper will be the history of Princess Gwenllian ferch Llywelyn and her rebellious familial ties. However, I will draw on the way in which the princess has been used by modern Wales and England as a symbol of English oppression and Welsh displacement. Each country offers new ideas on the princess and her cultural attachments. For this reason, I will draw on these two attitudes to explore ideas on identity and uses of the past.

Medieval Wales shares global connections which can be examined through the family history of the princess, chiefly her parents, Simon and Eleanor de Montfort. Meanwhile, Wales had a strict poetic structure which was followed in the royal courts of Wales. I will briefly introduce this tradition and aspects of its literature relating to the princess and her family to explore identity, memory and the past.

The aim of the paper will be to offer an alternative perspective on this famous family, and the ways in which a reconsideration could influence perceptions on identity.

Dr Rhea Seren Phillips studied for a PhD at Swansea University (2016-2020). Her research centred on the way in which the Welsh metrical tradition could be adapted to reinterpret the cultural identification of modern Wales. Her debut collection came out in 2020 with Boiled String (Hafan Books).

Image: Plaque on Snowdon commemorating Gwenllian. Source:

Link for the seminar:

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