London , Dec 30 (PTI) Three years after he handed back the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) honour, actor Michael Sheen has finally opened about it saying he decided to return the award so that he could express his views on monarchy in a lecture on Welsh-English relations.
The Welsh actor, known for films like 'The Queen', 'The Twilight Saga' series and miniseries 'Good Omens', was presented the OBE for services to drama by Queen Elizabeth II in 2009 and relinquished the honour in 2017.
Sheen said he wanted to explore the 'tortured history' of his country with the British state without being a hypocrite in 2017 Raymond Williams Lecture, named after the late Welsh theorist.
'In my research to do that lecture, I learnt a lot about Welsh history. 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'. I wanted to do the lecture so I gave my OBE back,' the actor told journalist Owen Jones in a video interview published Tuesday.
In his address, Sheen then referred to how the Prince of Wales title, currently held by Prince Charles, was bestowed by King Edward I upon his son, as part of his crushing a Welsh rebellion.
The 51-year-old actor said he was honoured to receive the OBE, adding he did not publicise his decision at that time.
'I didn't mean any disrespect but 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,' he said.
Prince Charles will forfeit the title when he ascends the throne.
Sheen also said it would be a 'really meaningful and powerful gesture for that title to no longer be held in the same way as it has before.' The relationship between Wales and the monarchy was detailed in a season three episode of Netflix royal period drama 'The Crown', in which a 20-year-old Prince Charles (played by Josh O'Connor) is sent to Wales to learn Welsh ahead of receiving his title, and is met with a cold reception by locals. PTI BK BK