Llywelyn ap Gruffudd

Llywelyn ap Gruffudd
Prince of Wales
Prince of Aberffraw and Lord of Snowdon
Llywelyn the Last at Cardiff City Hall.jpg
Llywelyn ap Gruffudd at Cardiff City Hall.
Prince of Wales
PredecessorDafydd ap Llywelyn
SuccessorDafydd ap Gruffudd
Bornc. 1223
Died11 December 1282
Aberedw, Powys
ConsortEleanor de Montfort
IssueGwenllian of Wales
Full name
Llywelyn ap Gruffudd or
Llywelyn Ein Llyw Olaf
Royal houseAberffraw
FatherGruffudd ap Llywelyn Fawr
MotherSenana ferch Caradog

Llywelyn ap Gruffudd (c. 1223 – 11 December 1282), sometimes written as Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, also known as Llywelyn the Last or Llywelyn Yr Ail (Llywelyn II) (Welsh: Llywelyn Ein Llyw Olaf, lit. 'Llywelyn, Our Last Leader'), was Prince of Wales (Latin: Princeps Wallie; Welsh: Tywysog Cymru) from 1258 until his death at Cilmeri in 1282. The son of Gruffudd ap Llywelyn Fawr and grandson of Llywelyn the Great, he was the last sovereign prince of Wales before its conquest by Edward I of England.

Genealogy and early life

Llywelyn was the second of the four sons of Gruffudd, the eldest son of Llywelyn the Great, and Senana ferch Caradog, the daughter of Caradoc ap Thomas ap Rhodri, Lord of Anglesey.[note 1] The eldest was Owain Goch ap Gruffudd and Llywelyn had two younger brothers, Dafydd ap Gruffudd and Rhodri ap Gruffudd. Llywelyn is thought to have been born around 1222 or 1223. He is first heard of holding lands in the Vale of Clwyd around 1244.

Following his grandfather's death in 1240, Llywelyn's uncle, Dafydd ap Llywelyn (who was Llywelyn the Great's eldest legitimate son), succeeded him as ruler of Gwynedd. Llywelyn's father, Gruffudd (who was Llywelyn's eldest son but illegitimate), and his brother, Owain, were initially kept prisoner by Dafydd, then transferred into the custody of King Henry III of England. Gruffudd died in 1244, from a fall while trying to escape from his cell at the top of the Tower of London. The window from which he attempted to escape the Tower was bricked up and can still be seen to this day.

This freed Dafydd ap Llywelyn's hand as King Henry could no longer use Gruffudd against him, and war broke out between him and King Henry in 1245. Llywelyn supported his uncle in the savage fighting that followed. Owain, meanwhile, was freed by Henry after his father's death in the hope that he would start a civil war in Gwynedd, but stayed in Chester, so when Dafydd died in February 1246 without leaving an heir, Llywelyn had the advantage of being on the spot.