Prince of Wales Investiture Chairs


Prince of Wales Investiture Chairs

If you’re a fan of royal history and furniture design, you might recognize the stylish pair of chairs pictured above as the ‘Red Chairs’  from the Prince of Wales’ Investiture in 1969. These chairs were created specifically for the guests invited to the Prince of Wales’ Investiture at the Medieval Caernarfon Castle in July 1969. Millions of viewers watched the ceremony on television as the twenty-year-old Prince Charles received his insignia from Queen Elizabeth II, conferring upon him his new title as Prince of Wales.

Lord Snowdon, the Prince’s uncle, and Constable of the castle, was in charge of designing the setting and furniture of the investiture along with Carl Toms and John Pound. The ceremony successfully reflected the supposed “antiquity” of the event but imbued with a modernist twist, in keeping with the attitude of the sixties. The investiture itself took place under a large Perspex canopy, a modern rendition of the hangings prevalent in Medieval pageants. 

Prince of Wales Investiture Chairs at Investiture

4,600 chairs were made for the Prince of Wales’ Investiture by workers at the Remploy factory in Bridgend. Manufactured from a beech-wood frame with preformed plywood backs and seats, they were veneered in Olive Ash and stained in Vermillion Red. The Prince of Wales’ feathers motto (Ich Dien) was indented in gilt to the chair back by the Ferndale Book Company, a successful attempt to reduce wear. 

The seats were padded with foam and upholstered with a simple red Welsh tweed. This was produced by David Lewis Limited of Cambrian Mills in Drefach Felindre. The fabric was specifically chosen for its stable dye that wouldn’t run onto guests’ clothes during a Welsh downpour. Gold tasseled cushions were also made, upholstered from the same red Welsh tweed and emblazoned with a medallion sporting the Prince of Wales’s feathers. The cushions are particularly rare and hard to come by. 

Following the investiture the chairs were dismantled and offered for sale at twelve pounds each, with invited guests having the first refusal, and the remainder being sold to the public. Lord Snowdon himself bought six.

Prince of Wales’ Investiture chairs can be found in the collection of Museum of Wales, and are also increasingly popular among interior designers. Prince of Wales Investiture chairs have been rising in value as collectors and designers appreciate their handsome looks, regal history, and practicality. As the coronation of Prince Charles III approaches, owning one of these chairs is a great way to connect with the history and add a touch of regal elegance to your home. If you’re interested in securing a piece of history, now is the perfect time to invest in one.

Prince of Wales Investiture Chairs Investment

The price of Prince of Wales Investiture chairs has risen considerably over the past few years. Depending on their condition, and provenance, they can fetch a few thousand pounds, such as those sold for £1,900 in July 2020 at Dreweatt Auctions in Donnington. On the 23rd of September, Christie’s presented an exceptional pair of chairs that were in pristine condition and originated directly from the personal collection of their creator, Lord Snowdon. With an estimated value ranging from £2,000 to £4,000, these two chairs surpassed all expectations and achieved a remarkable sale price of £43,750, including fees. This outstanding result established a new world record for this particular design in the realm of auctions.

There is no better time to invest in this unique part of history. You can find Prince of Wales Investiture Chairs available on our website here.

Historic footage of the Investiture ceremony can be found here