Huw Edwards backs Gareth Bale after criticism over acceptance of MBE
Broadcaster Huw Edwards has defended fellow Welshman Gareth Bale from criticism over his decision to accept an MBE from the Queen.
Wales captain Gareth Bale had said that he was “deeply humbled” after being awarded an MBE for services to football and charity in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
The sentiment however put him at odds with some members of Wales’ supporter base, after the FAW had emphasised its Welsh nationalist credentials in the past, including hiring anti-monarchist singer Dafydd Iwan to inspire fans before matches.
However, Huw Edwards, who fronted the Queen’s Jubilee coverage on the BBC yesterday, said that he was only surprised that Gareth Bale only merited the second-lowest honour, under an OBE and Knighthood.
“He’s a superb ambassador for Wales and it’s surely his right to accept recognition,” Huw Edwards said.
“As a journalist who’s covered honours lists for many years, I’m just puzzled by the level of his award.”
Gareth Bale became the first player from any of the nations of the UK to win the Champions League on five occasions when Real beat Liverpool in Paris on Saturday – his final involvement for the Spanish club.
He also inspired Wales to qualification for the 2016 and 2020 European Championships, and will lead the way in their World Cup play-off final on Sunday.
Bale donated over one million euros to hospitals in Wales and Spain in April 2020 in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, and has also supported other charities in his home country.
Bale said: “Receiving an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours list is a very proud moment for my family and I.
“To be given this news as we prepare to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee makes it feel even more special.
“I joined a football academy at the age of nine, so the sport is a defining part of my identity. I recognise the privilege of being able to do what I love, and for all of the incredible moments, experiences, achievements and memories football has given me. I hope I have been able to give just as much back.
“Football is my whole life and I am deeply humbled to be recognised by the Queen.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.