My Celebrity Life

Michael Sheen handed back his OBE to speak about royal family and ‘tortured history’

Michael Sheen is clearly a man of his word after revealing that he handed back his OBE in order to speak about the royal family without being hypocritcal.

The Frost/Nixon actor was made an OBE in the 2009 New Year Honours for his services to drama and proudly accepted the honour from the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

However, Michael began to feel conflicted about holding onto such an accolade while planning to discuss the ‘tortured history’ of the relationship between his native Wales and England in a 2017 Raymond Williams lecture.

The address would also criticise the royal tradition of giving the heir to the throne the title of Prince of Wales and called for it to be scrapped when Charles becomes king, describing it as a ‘humiliation’ for the Welsh.

Speaking to columnist Owen Jones, Michael, 51, explained: ‘In my research to do that lecture I learnt a lot about Welsh history. I’m still standing at the foothills of an understanding of all that, but that was a crash course.

‘By the time I’d finished writing that lecture, I remember sitting there going, “Well, I have a choice. I either don’t give this lecture and hold on to my OBE or I give this lecture and I have to give my OBE back”.’

Sheen received the honour directly from the Queen at Buckingham Palace (Picture: PA)

Realising he’d be in a hypocritical position to keep it, Michael stated: ‘I wanted to still give the lecture so I gave my OBE back.

‘I said, “I mean absolutely no disrespect by doing this, I don’t want to cause a big fuss about it”,’ he said, adding that it ‘meant a lot’ to his family and the gravitas of the honour admittedly ‘helped’ him.

‘People go, “Why are you getting so upset about things that happened hundreds of years ago?” But it’s true, it still has a power here,’ Michael said.

He added of handing back the OBE: ‘If someone asks me about it I would be transparent and no one has ever asked me.’

The actor believes it would be a ‘really meaningful and powerful gesture’ for the Prince of Wales title to ‘no longer be held in the same way as it was before’.

Michael referred to the controversial decision to rename the second Severn Crossing the Prince of Wales bridge in 2018. A petition to block the move amassed more than 30,000 signatures.

Hailing the Queen as a ‘remarkable person who’s done exemplary service to the country’, Michael feels there should be at least a ‘break’ in bestowing the title following her death.


Credit: Original article published here.

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