Hollywood actor Michael Sheen handed back his OBE so he could air his views about the monarchy without being a “hypocrite”, he has revealed.
Mr Sheen, 51, from Port Talbot, said the decision came after researching the history of his native Wales for his 2017 Raymond Williams lecture, he received the OBE in 2009 for services to drama. The actor said he decided not to announce his decision in 2017, fearing some people would find it insulting, he revealed it in an interview with newspaper columnist Owen Jones this week when asked about it. “Raymond Williams famous wrote a piece called Who Speaks For Wales in 1971 and I took that as my starting point for the lecture as in who speaks for Wales now?”, he said. “And in my research, to do that lecture, I learnt a lot about Welsh history.
“By the time I finished typing that lecture I remember sitting there and thinking ‘well I have a choice’ either don’t give this lecture and hold on to my OBE or I give this lecture and give the OBE back. “I wanted to do the lecture so I gave my OBE back.” Mr Sheen said he meant “absolutely no disrespect” in returning the OBE, and that he had felt “incredibly honoured” to have received it, noting it had helped his career both inside and outside of acting. He added: “I just realised I’d be a hypocrite if I said the things I was going to say in the lecture about the nature of the relationship between Wales and the British state.”