Prince Charles reads Dylan Thomas's classic Fern Hill
ONE of Dylan Thomas's best-loved poems is being given the royal treatment today.
To mark National Poetry Day, the Prince of Wales has recorded and released a version of Fern Hill — one of his Royal Highness's favourite poems.
The Prince is also patron of next year's Dylan Thomas 100 Festival, a year-long celebration to mark the centenary of the birth of the Bard of Swansea.
The prince said: "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.
"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."
Published in 1945, Fern Hill was named for the Carmarthenshire farm owned by his aunty Annie where a young Dylan spent summer holidays.
It recently came fourth in a list of poems most frequently requested by listeners to BBC Radio Four's Poetry Please programme over the last 35 years.
The poet's grand-daughter, Hannah Ellis — who is also a patron of the Dylan Thomas 100 Festival — said the poem meant a great deal to the family.
Ms Ellis met the Prince during his recent visits to Dylan's birthplace in Cwmdonkin Drive, Swansea, and the Boat House in Laugharne.
She said: "I was so pleased to meet the Prince at my grandfather's birthplace in Swansea in his capacity as royal patron, and then again with The Duchess of Cornwall at the boathouse in Laugharne during the summer.
"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."
National Poetry Day is being marked around the UK with events from "pop-up" readings on London buses to a poems inspired by paintings in the National Gallery in Edinburgh.
William Sieghart, founder of the annual poetry celebration, welcomed the Prince's recording of Dylan's work.
He said: "There's no mistaking the Prince of Wales's love of this moving poem.
"I hope many will follow his wonderful example on National Poetry Day. This is a day to find a poem you love and share it."