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Prince Of Wales As Miner

The future King Edward VIII gets down and dirty on a visit to an Ebbw Vale pit in South Wales

Non-Fiction 1918 1 mins Silent


The future King Edward VIII - then still plain old David, Prince of Wales - gets down and dirty on a visit to the Victoria pit at Ebbw Vale, South Wales, in this Topical Budget newsreel item, which underlines his popular touch at this time. Donning overalls and a pit helmet, the Prince insisted on being taken down to the coal face, where he apparently chipped himself off a lump of coal as a memento. In characteristic crowd-pleasing fashion, he thanked the assembled miners in Welsh before continuing on his tour.

The future king's concern for the conditions endured by Welsh miners was longstanding and apparently heartfelt - but was an early sign of his unease with the strictures of his role. His public pleas for "something to be done" to address pit unemployment would bring him into conflict with the Conservative National Government led by Stanley Baldwin, who felt the king was overstepping his constitutional role by interfering in politics (though his well-known sympathies with fascist regimes in Germany and Italy were a greater concern).