"I am forever grateful to him for helping foster my deep and abiding love for Wales," Prince Charles said in a statement

By Phil Boucher
April 28, 2020 03:02 PM
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Dr. Edward "Tedi" Millward
| Credit: Courtesy Llio Millward

Prince Charles has extended his “heartfelt sympathy” towards the family of his former Welsh language teacher, Dr. Edward "Tedi" Millward, who has died at the age of 89.

The royal was tutored in all things Welsh by Millward at Aberystwyth University in the lead-up to his investiture as Prince of Wales on July 1, 1969.

The rollercoaster relationship between the 20-year-old prince and the older, fiercely patriotic Welshman also featured heavily in a recent episode of season 3 of The Crown, entitled "Tywysog Cymru (Prince of Wales)."

“I am deeply saddened to hear of Dr. Millward’s death,” Charles said in a statement released Tuesday. “I have very fond memories of my time in Aberystwyth with Dr. Millward over fifty-one years ago.

"While I am afraid I might not have been the best student, I learned an immense amount from him about the Welsh language and about the history of Wales.

“After all these years, I am forever grateful to him for helping foster my deep and abiding love for Wales, her people, and her culture. I send my most heartfelt sympathy to his family.”

Dr. Edward “Tedi” Millward and Prince Charles
| Credit: Courtesy Llio Millward
Prince Charles
| Credit: Courtesy Llio Millward

Actor Mark Lewis Jones, who played Millward in The Crown, also paid tribute to the committed Welsh nationalist on social media.

“I had the absolute privilege to play this Welsh giant,” wrote Jones. “His contribution to Wales and it’s language is immense. A great loss. RIP Tedi Millward.”

Fellow The Crown star Josh O’Connor, who plays Prince Charles in the series, added on Twitter, “I too had the privilege to tell a part of the Tedi Millward story. We barely touched the surface. A great man who made a great contribution to a wonderful country. RIP Tedi Millward.”

When Charles, 71, attended Millward’s classes in west Wales as a 20-year-old freshman, he walked into what newspapers at the time called a “hotbed of radicals.”

During his nine-week course with Millward, however, the royal knuckled down to the task of learning the fiendishly tricky Welsh language, developing a love for the country, and an unlikely friendship with Millward himself.

"Dad was always hugely respectful of Prince Charles both at the time of the Investiture and afterward," Millward's daughter, Llio, tells PEOPLE.

"I was very much involved in the research and in the making of The Crown episode and worked closely with the producers, the director, and the actor who played Dad.

"I took Dad on set once and I gave Mark (Lewis Jones), who is now a good friend, Dad’s actual ties to wear in the episode."

Llio shared more about her father's experience as Charles' tutor on social media, writing: "In 1969 Dad was asked to teach Prince Charles to speak Welsh and he accepted this role in the hope that it would be an opportunity to enlighten an important member of the English establishment about the plight of the language and the unique and valuable culture that the Welsh language is a part of.

"Dad has always said that during those private seminars Charles was a sensitive, intelligent and open-minded young man and I believe they developed a mutual respect for one another. This of course was dramatised on Netflix The Crown and I am grateful to the actor Mark Lewis Jones for the grace and gravitas he brought to his portrayal of my father which to me truly reflected Dad’s tremendous spirit and character."

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On April 20, Charles also showed Millward's teaching hadn't been wasted when opening an emergency field hospital in Cardiff, Wales, known as the Ysbyty Calon Y Draig (Dragon’s Heart Hospital).

“In a facility named, so evocatively and so appropriately, Calon y Ddraig, what can I say except ‘diolch o galon,’ (heartfelt thanks)," Charles, 71,  said by video link. "Llongyfarchiadau ichi i gyd." (Congratulations to you all.)