These ideas are familiar from Shakespeare’s Henry IV plays, which depict Prince Hal as the boon companion of the dissolute Sir John Falstaff. Eighteenth-century satirists made the most of the comparison with their own Prince of Wales, George, and his friendship with the Whig politician Charles James Fox (1749-1806).
However, Shakespeare’s Henry V suggests that a rakish Prince of Wales can become a heroic monarch, by showing Hal’s military glory at Agincourt. As a result, many Princes of Wales have actively sought the comparison.
In 1944, a wartime screening of Laurence Olivier’s Henry V proposed a connection between Henry V and George VI and, as recently as 2018, the current Prince of Wales, Charles, observed that ‘you only have to look at […] Henry V [...], to see the change that can take place’.