Mrs Evans was the daughter of banking union official Dan Thomas, a member of the Independent Labour Party who later became disillusioned with Labour and joined Plaid Cymru, and his wife Elizabeth, who was secretary of the Welsh Pacifist movement. It was through her mother that Rhiannon met Gwynfor, himself a pacifist...
BBC journalist Rhys Evans, the biographer of Gwynfor Evans, said last night, 'In his autobiography Gwynfor told how when they first met in 1939, Rhiannon was wearing a short summer dress. He was completely smitten by her.
'They married on St David's Day in 1941, at the height of the war. The rest of her life she was a devoted wife to Gwynfor, and to many she became known as Rhiannon Gwynfor. But it does her something of an injustice to see her simply as a dutiful wife, because she was very artistic and highly intelligent. She also brought up seven children, which in itself is a remarkable achievement.
Not to mention standing by her man as he turned a fringe movement into the dominant political party in a country that had become embarrassed of its name, its language, and any hint of its identity. When the Evanses married, the percentage of Wlesh speakers was a little over a third, and dropping like a rock. There was no schooling, radio, TV or other popular medium in which English wasn't overwhelmingly favored. Today, largely thanks to Gwynfor and Rhiannon, schools teach Welsh, there are two Welsh-language TV channels, and the Welsh music and publishing industries are thriving. The Welsh language is co-official in its own country for the first time since 1536. I would go so far as to say that Rhiannon Evans was to Wales what Coretta Scott King was to America. And it would be hard to find higher praise than that.