Wales

Prince Charles patron of Dylan Thomas centenary event

Prince Charles has tea in the living room of the birthplace of Dylan Thomas in Swansea with restorer of the house Anne Haden
Image caption Prince Charles has tea in the living room of the birthplace of Dylan Thomas in Swansea with restorer of the house Anne Haden

Prince Charles has become a patron of the year-long festival planned to mark centenary in 2014 of the birth of the poet Dylan Thomas.

The prince visited the Swansea house, 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, Uplands, where Thomas was born and brought up.

The festival, Dylan Thomas 100, aims to highlight the artistic, cultural and commercial importance of Thomas's work.

The director of the film version of his play Under Milk Wood this week gifted its rights to the people of Wales.

Preparations for the centenary of the poet's birth are led by Dylan Thomas 100, a £750,000 programme of events across Wales and beyond.

They include a Wales-wide theatre production tour of A Child's Christmas in Wales, new productions of works including Under Milk Wood and a series of activities centred around the boathouse in Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, where Thomas worked in his final years.

Thomas was born on 27 October 1914 at the family home in Cwmdonkin Drive.

Image caption The parents' bedroom in the birthplace of Dylan Thomas in Swansea

During his visit on Friday, Prince Charles toured the house which has been restored to how it would have looked when the poet lived there with his parents.

The prince was shown the front bedroom where Thomas was born a few months after his family had bought the home.

He admired the authentic Edwardian-era beds as he was taken round by Mrs Haden and asked how she had found them.

"Actually, you have cost me money," she told the prince.

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Media captionPrince Charles had tea in the living room of the birthplace of Dylan Thomas

He was told the house renovation took place several years ago at a time when Prince Charles was renovating his farmhouse Llwynywermod near Llandovery.

At the time of buying it, he made a point of using local craftspeople for work and buying authentic period furniture wherever possible.

"You were doing Llwynywermod at the same time we were doing this," Mrs Haden said.

"Ah, competition. I am so sorry," Charles replied.

"I don't hold it against you," she said.

During the tour, the poet's granddaughter Hannah Ellis Thomas joined the prince and the Hadens for tea.

He left the house saying he may ready some Welsh poetry to his unborn grandchild.

Thomas died on 9 November 1953 in New York during his fourth trip to America. He is buried at the village churchyard in Laugharne.

Artistic

Image caption The centenary of Thomas' birth is marked in 2014

This week the British Council said it aimed to bring the Swansea poet's work to international audiences over the next two years.

The project will be called Starless and Bible Black, after a line from Under Milk Wood.

On Thursday, Andrew Sinclair, who directed the 1972 film Under Milk Wood, starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, gave the rights to the film to a new trust.

It is hoped the royalties will fund cultural and artistic projects and films made in Wales, including new interpretations of Thomas's work.

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