South West Wales

National Poetry Day: Prince Charles reads Dylan Thomas poem

Prince Charles at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive in Swansea, home to the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas
Prince Charles is Royal patron of the Dylan Thomas 100 Festival and last year visited the poet's home in Swansea and his boathouse in Laugharne

Prince Charles has recorded one of his favourite Dylan Thomas poems for a special broadcast to mark National Poetry Day.

The prince chose Fern Hill, the Welsh poet's reminiscences of childhood visits to an aunt's farm in Carmarthenshire.

Prince Charles described the poem as "poignant and moving".

He is Royal patron of the Dylan Thomas 100 Festival, which will mark the centenary of the poet's birth in 2014.

"For National Poetry Day, I was very glad, if somewhat hesitant - to be able to record a reading of one of my personal favourites, Fern Hill, with its poignant and moving evocation of a rural west Wales childhood," said Prince Charles.

"I cannot help feeling this is one of the great legacies of Thomas's poetry - that it inspires people to appreciate the incomparable landscape of Wales."

Dylan visits

The heir to the throne has made a number of broadcasts over the decades including appearing on the BBC children's programme Jackanory in 1984, reading his own book The Old Man Of Lochnagar, and in recent years making documentaries about the composer Sir Hubert Parry and royal artists.

Last year, the prince visited the poet's home at Cwmdonkin Drive in Swansea, and then this year to Thomas's boathouse at Laugharne in Carmarthenshire where many of his major works were written.

Thomas's granddaughter, Hannah Ellis Thomas, who is also a patron of the centenary celebrations, said: "It's fantastic that he is closely involving himself in our centenary celebrations with a reading that my grandfather would have loved, of a poem that meant so much to him and our family."

The festival itself is being led by the Welsh government. First Minister Carwyn Jones added: "The festival will resurrect a passion for literature and inspire people of all ages to connect more actively with our rich cultural heritage.

"It is an opportunity to showcase Wales and to raise further the iconic status of this great literary figure."

The prince's full recording of Fern Hill is available on the Dylan Thomas 100 official website.

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