The Welsh princess men found irresistible….


When it comes to medieval ladies whose story I have always wanted to write but have never found the moment. something else always got in the way.

One such lady is Princess Nest/Nesta of Wales, daughter of the last King of South Wales, whose life spanned the end of the 11th century and beginning of the 12th. She must have been very beautiful and, presumably, charming, because she seems to have, um, excited some important men! Including Prince Henry of England, who would become Henry I. But then again, as Henry had at least 20 illegitimate children, I guess he wasn’t too difficult to excite!

If you go to this article

Did Nesta love any of her husbands/lovers? I’d like to think she loved Gerald de Windsor, an Anglo-Norman baron who was Constable of Pembroke Castle and ruled Nesta’s father’s kingdom of Deheubarth in South Wales. Gerald was much older than his new bride, but I’d like to think they were happy together.

Pembroke Castle, Gerald’s stronghold – wikipedia

But then her hotblooded cousin, Owain ap Cadwgan of the kingdom of Powys, was perhaps the one for her? In a very famous incident at a Christmas banquet in1109 he attacked Cilgerran Castle where Gerald and Nesta were. Nesta was abducted because Owain desired her so much. But maybe the abduction was stage-managed? Perhaps it was all a set-up for two illicit lovers to be together?

Cilgerran Castle – wikipedia

Whatever, Owain was eventually killed and Nesta was returned to Gerald, so I hope for her sake that Gerald loved her and she wanted to be with him.

Her ghosts is said to haunt Carew Castle, her true home. 

Carew Castle, 2021 – photograph by Sarah Wilson

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