Separated by their allegiances at Twickenham Stadium on the weekend – the Duke of Cambridge as patron of the Welsh Rugby Union – and the Duchess of Cambridge as patron of the Rugby Football Union – today, they put aside sporting rivalry – to celebrate St David’s Day.
St David’s Day falls each year on March 1, and while the duke and duchess will take the opportunity to celebrate Welsh culture with a visit to the small valley town of Blaenavon, proud Welshman in all corners of the globe will be honouring the patron saint of Wales.
Born in Caerfai in Pembrokeshire to Sant, a prince of Cardigan, and St Non, the daughter of a chieftain in around 500 AD, he was recognised as national patron saint in the 12th century – at the height of Welsh resistance against the Normans.
Like other patron saints his life remains a little vague, except his gift in performing miracles; his most famous being when he was preaching to a large crowd at Synod of Brefi and raised the ground beneath him into a hill so a sermon could be heard by all.
To mark St David’s Day, people often wear a daffodil, the flower of Wales, or a leek, St David’s personal symbol. Welsh regiments in the British army even eat raw leeks to commemorate St David. Typical celebrations also feature traditional dishes consisting of Welsh rarebit and Glamorgan sausages.
Traditional Welsh costumes are encouraged. Girls wear a petticoat and overcoat, made of Welsh flannel, and a tall hat, worn over a frilled bonnet. Boys wear a white shirt, a Welsh flannel waistcoat, black trousers, long wool socks and black shoes.
Written by Evan James and his son, James James in 1856, the Welsh national anthem ‘Land of my Fathers’ has powerful resonance with Welsh-born people, some of whom have gone onto become literary giants and Hollywood movie stars, thus becoming Wales’ most famous sons.
Born in Swansea in 1914, Dylan Thomas became famous for his acutely lyrical and emotional poetry, as well as his turbulent personal life. He was the first poet to become magnified by celebrity – even described as a Rock ‘n’ Roll poet. "Dylan Thomas's voice has added a new dimension to literary history,” The New York Times raved when he launched a US reading tour in 1950. His last acts of tragedy happened to play out in Manhattan, but the wordsmith remains one of Wales’ most talented and famous sons.