Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

Prince of Wales' College, Moratuwa

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Type  National
Principal  Kusala Fernando
Gender  Boys
Phone  +94 11 2 645628
Founded  1876
Color  Purple Gold and Maroon
Established  1876
Grades  Class 1 – 13
Age  5 to 19
Founder  Charles Henry de Soysa
Number of students  5,000
Prince of Wales' College, Moratuwa
Address  Galle Rd, Moratuwa 10400, Sri Lanka
Similar  StSebast College - Moratuwa, S Thomas' College Mount La, St Peter's College, Isipathana College, Sri Sumangala College

Prince of Wales' College (Sinhala: වේල්ස් කුමර විද්‍යාලය, Tamil: வேல்ஸ் கல்லூரி அதிபதி) is a selective entry boys' school in Sri Lanka. The school is situated in Moratuwa, a suburb of Colombo. Prince of Wales' College was founded in 1876 by Sir Charles Henry de Soysa (along with Princess of Wales' College, Moratuwa) who was a famous 19th century Sri Lankan philanthropist. Prince of Wales College became fully government-controlled school in 1962. As of 2014 over 5000 boys are studying in the School from grade 1 to 13.


The father of free education, the Dr. C. W. W. Kannangara and Dr. T. B. Jayah, a former senior politician and Minister have both served on the staff of Prince of Wales College. Sir James Peiris was a former Trustee of the college.

For a very long time they have created a niche for themselves in the field of sports. Prince of Wales College has produced many a cricketer of repute who at sometime or another played for the national team. It won the Herman Loos Cup for cadeting many a time in the past and has won international championships in rowing.


The founding patron of the school was the philanthropist, Sir Charles Henry de Soysa. Following the arrival of the then Prince of Wales (Edward VII) in Colombo in 1875, Sir Charles Henry De Soysa felt like naming the two schools he intended to build as Prince of Wales’ and Princess of Wales’. As a result of a letter sent on 27 November 1875, he received permission to name the two schools as Prince of Wales’ and Princess of Wales’.

14 September 1876 was a memorable day for the Moratuwa community; the school, which was built on a picturesque 15 acre land facing the Galle Road and bordered by the Lunawa lagoon, was ceremonially opened. The then governor of Sri Lanka, Sir William Gregory, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. The plan of the school was drawn by Mr. Muhandiram Mendis Jayawardena and about Rs. 300,000/= was spent on the construction of the school. This school building was one of the most elegant school buildings of the country in that era. The ceremonial opening of the St. John's Church and endowments to St. John's College Panadura by Mudliyar Susew De Soysa were also conducted on the same day.

Sir Charles Henry De Soysa completed 5 school buildings over an area of five acres and (along with all the necessary equipment) opened the school to the public as a secular institution. He also carefully looked over the administration, management and maintenance of the school till his death. In his last will, he requested that his eldest son Mudalier J. W. C. de Soysa take over the responsibilities of the school and also asked his wife to pay Rs. 3000/= to the school annually, for maintenance work. After Lady Catherine De Soysa died, the seven sons of Sir Charles Henry De Soysa received the stewardship of the school. They also received their education from Prince of Wales’ College and their aid was vital for the school. They endowed the school with two plantations for its maintenance and recruited principals who were Oxbridge graduates.

Mr. W.S. Gunawardena (B.A. Calcutta) was the first principal of the school and served the school from 1876 till 1891. At first, this was not operated as one school, but as 4 educational institutes with a total of a thousand students and 40 teachers. That is,

  • Prince of Wales’ College
  • Princess of Wales’ College
  • Prince of Wales’ College (native language)
  • Princess of Wales’ College (native language)
  • The first prize giving of the school was held in 1883 with Sir John Douglas as the chief guest. There were prize records of all 4 schools in it. Prince of Wales’ College and Prince of Wales’ College (native) only had classes up to Grade 7. Prince of Wales’ College was the higher school and it had two divisions named Upper and Lower. Apart from this, there were 2 classes for undergraduates.

    3 March was selected as the Founder’s Day. Students attend the service at the Holy Emmanuel church and pay respects to the tomb of Sir Charles Henry de Soysa. Since the 1960s, Buddhist students have commemorated the Founder's Day by engaging in Buddhist rituals.

    W. S. Gunawardena (First Principal 1876-1891)

    W. S. Gunawardena (B.A. Calcutta) was the first principal of the school and served the school from 1876 till 1891. The school hostel was started in 1882 and cricket was also introduced to the school during this time.

    Philip Lewis (Principal 1892-1896)

    Philip Lewis became the second principal of the school and served the school from 1892 till 1896. Although amongst many difficulties, a rapid development of the school could be seen during this period.

    J. G. C. Mendis (Principal 1896-1917)

    J. G. C. Mendis (B.A. Cambridge), son-in-law of the founding patron rendered a valuable service to the school for two decades, from 1896 to 1917. During his tenure a Cricket Society was formed in the school and the school ground was further developed. The school magazine: "The Cambrian"(first issued in 1897), Debating Team, Cadet Corps (1903), library, laboratory, Commerce Section, tennis and soccer teams, a kid’s park were some of the elements which were added to the school in this era. Another important milestone was the formation of the Old Boys’ Association in 1904. After 21 years of service, Mendis had to retire from his post as Principal due to his bad health condition.

    P. T. Jayasuriya (Principal 1917-1925)

    P. T. Jayasuriya [B.A. Hon.(Lond)] became Mendis' successor as principal. During his time at Prince of Wales’ College, the academic aspect of the school improved significantly, with students bringing up great results. Under Jayasuriya the Science section and the school cricket ground were developed further and a separate kids' park for the school was built. In 1922, "The Cambrian" was published again and the infrastructure of the school was also enhanced by adding 3 more class rooms. A house system was initiated and 4 houses were named, after the founder and the first three of the principals (namely, Founder’s, Gunawardena, Lewis, Mendis)

    L. E. Blaze (Principal 1926)

    In 1926, Louis Edmund Blaze (B.A. Cantab) was appointed as the principal. He was the founder of Kingswood college, Kandy, a former student of Trinity College, Kandy and the father of schools Rugby football in Sri Lanka. He was a very dynamic person and the Golden Jubilee Prize Giving was held in his period. The English College anthem was also created during this period.

    L. G. Crease (Principal 1927-1931)

    L. G. Crease (M.A. Oxen) headed the school from 1927 to 1931. He was a European and was very strict when it came to student discipline. He was a competent administrator and there was a marked development in cadetting and sports.

    Rev. F. R. E. Mendis (Principal 1931-1932)

    Rev. F. R. E. Mendis (M.A. Cantab) served as the principal from 1931-1932. He started the library fund and developed cricket, soccer, boxing and athletics.

    J. B. C. Rodrigo (Principal 1933-1959)

    J. B. C. Rodrigo (M.A. [Oxen] J.P.U.M.), was a very capable administrator and blessed with a great personality. The Teachers’ Guild, Cinema Association, Science Association, Drama Association, Red Cross branch, Sinhala and English Literary Associations, Debating Team, Co-operative Association and Hockey were initiated for the benefit of the students and new class rooms were built.

    In 1933, the inaugural Battle of the Golds (Prince of Wales’ College vs. St. Sebastian's College) was held at the school ground.

    S. C. H. De Silva (Principal 1959 - 1973)

    S. C. H. De Silva (B.A., Dip. in School Admst) served the school for 14 years and there was a notable progression in the development of the school. Scouting was introduced and the Buddha shrine was constructed in 1967, ceremonially opened by the Governor, William Gopallawa. The Sinhala college anthem was written by B. Godahewa in 1967. Tissa Gunawardena joined the staff during this time. His works include the statues of the Buddha, the founding patron and the largest Sandakadapahana in Sri Lanka. Art Society and the Drama Club showed remarkable progress under his guidance. Gunawardena presented many stage plays, bringing out the hidden talents of the students.

    L. H. Gunapala (Principal 1973-1977)

    L. H. Gunapala, who had served as a school inspector and as a district education inspector previously, was the principal during the centennial anniversary of the school. The school was improved to a high standard and Hevisi and Western bands were formed during this time.

    M. E. C. Fernando (Principal 1977-1988)

    M. E. C. Fernando, a former student and teacher succeeded Mr. Gunapala as the principal. The H. R. Fernando pavilion was gifted by former student Mr. H. R. Fernando. The cricket score board, library buildings, Science and Commerce buildings were some of these new additions. The sculpture of Sir Charles Henry de Soysa (sculpted by Mr. Tissa Gunawardena) was unveiled during this time. The venue of the annual Big Match was changed and was arranged to be held at De Soysa Stadium.

    H. L. B. Gomes (Principal 1989-1998)

    H. L. B. Gomes (M.A.), who was an old boy, a teacher and vice principal (during Mr. M. E. C. Fernando’s reign as principal), was appointed as the principal in 1989. In his time, the school became one of the 15 National Schools in Sri Lanka. A new auditorium with the latest facilities and a computer department was introduces.

    Amongst other developments which were seen in the school during his tenure were,

  • Making a qualitative improvement in education
  • Expanding the school further by adding more facilities. Namely,
  • Three 3 storey buildings for Grade 11, Commerce section and the Primary.
  • The new auditorium with the latest facilities.
  • The canteens for students and teachers.
  • Initiating the construction of the new hostel.
  • Construction of the school office, Principal’s office, meeting hall and toilets.
  • Introduction of the Media Unit.
  • Constructing 2 playgrounds for the Primary, including a cricket ground.
  • In 1998, the Western Band of the school had the rare privilege of welcoming the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, who visited Sri Lanka in order to be part of the 50th Independence Day celebration of Sri Lanka. The school’s cricket showed tremendous growth during this period and this was reflected with the captain Suranga Wijenayake representing the National team.

    Recent years

    The 14th principal D. A. Ramanayake improved the computing department. S. J. P. Wijesinghe was the next principal and he was followed by K. Ratnaweera Perera and Rohana Karunaratne correspondingly. After tenures by W. Jayasena and Sampath Weragoda respectively, J. W. S. Siriwardhana is the current principal and in 2014 the Hon. Jeewan Kumaranatunga allocated funding for the swimming pool project.

    Past principals

    Many distinguished men have served as the Principal of Prince of Wales' College since the inception. Listed below are the names of these principals.

    Old Boys' Association

    In 1904 when J. G. C. Mendis was the principal, he commenced the Old Boys’ Association. By now the membership has risen to around 4,000.


    Grade 1 to 5 : White collared shirt with the school badge as well as Blue colored short-Pants with White socks and Black Shoes.

    Grade 6 to 9 : White collared shirt with the school badge as well as White colored short-Pants with White socks and Black Shoes.

    Grade 10 to 13 :White collared shirt with the school badge as well as White colored long-pants with white socks and black shoes.

    For Special Occasions : White collared long sleeved shirt with white colored pants plus the college tie and also white socks with black shoes

    Clubs and societies

    Many of these clubs and societies organize several projects on an annual basis. The Computer Club, The Interact Club, The Radio Club, The Aeronautical Society, the Stamp Club, the Senior Science Association and the Red Cross Society are just some of clubs and societies. All of the above are fully or partially funded by the College.

  • Art Club
  • Astronomical Society
  • Cadetting
  • Choir
  • Chess Club
  • Commerce Society
  • Computer Society
  • Drama Society
  • Eastern Band
  • English Literary and Debating Society
  • Interact Club
  • Junior Science Association
  • Media & Broadcasting Unit
  • Road Safety Patrol
  • Scouting
  • Science Society
  • Sinhala Literary and Debating Society
  • Society for Social Work and Welfare
  • Young Christian Students Movement
  • Western Band
  • Sports

    Cambrians are famous for cricket. When the college was founded this noble game was introduced in 1876. During this period only the staff members took part and in 1896 the organised school cricket was introduced and the first ever inter school cricket match was played against Royal College, Colombo. Cambrian cricket has made significant contributions in all sectors of the sport in Sri Lanka, The Schools, Clubs Mercantile, Government Services, Defence Services, Corporations and in the field of cricket administrators some of them have performed brilliantly, gained much fame and figured prominently in representative, National and International cricket.

    Cadeting was introduced to college in 1904. Later Athletics and Football and some time later Volleyball was introduced. In 2012, Prince of Wales College created history by winning two Gold, four Silver and nine Bronze medals at the 4th Asian Schools Rowing Regatta held in Karachi.

    The College has many sports and games for its students, including:

    Battle of the Golds

    Prince of Wales' College plays its annual Big Match with St. Sebastian's College, Moratuwa. It is also known as Battle of the Golds. Cricketers to have captained the school include Wirantha Fernando and Kusal Mendis.

    Notable alumni

  • Priests
  • Bishop Valence Mendis - Catholic Bishop of Chilaw
  • Bishop Swithin Fernando - Anglican Bishop of Colombo
  • Bishop Kenneth Fernando - Anglican Bishop of Colombo
  • Cabinet Ministers
  • Philip Gunawardena - Cabinet Minister and co-founder of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party
  • Sam Peter Christopher Fernando - Cabinet Minister and Ambassador
  • Parliament Members
  • Meryl Fernando - Author, Member of Parliament and co-founder of Lanka Sama Samaja Party (Revolutionary)
  • A. J. R. de Soysa - Member of the Legislative Council of Ceylon
  • Diplomats
  • Deshamanya Vernon L. B. Mendis, SLOS - former United Nation's Special Envoy to the Middle East, Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Canada; Ambassador to USSR, Cuba and Secretary General of the Non Aligned Movement
  • Academics
  • Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri - Senior Lecturer -University, of Colombo, Author and Ex - President of The Federation of University Teachers' Association (FUTA)
  • Military
  • Admiral Clancy Fernando - Former Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Sir Wilfred de Soysa - Entrepreneur and Philanthropist
  • Actors
  • Kumara Thirimadura - Sri Lankan actor, journalist and dramatist
  • Sportsman
  • Lahiru Thirimanne - International cricketer
  • Amal Silva - National cricketer
  • Somachandra de Silva - National cricketer, Ex Chairman - Sri Lanka Cricket
  • Kusal Mendis - National Test cricketer
  • Shehan Jayasuriya - National cricketer
  • Chaminda Mendis - National cricketer and member of selection committee
  • References

    Prince of Wales' College, Moratuwa Wikipedia