Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Cyclist Geraint Thomas shares parenting tales as he receives OBE from William

The Tour de France winner was among several to receive an OBE from the Duke of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace.

Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas with his Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) medal (Yui Mok/PA)
Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas with his Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) medal (Yui Mok/PA)

By Dominica Sanda, PA

Geraint Thomas has said it was “surreal” to meet the Duke of Cambridge and share parenting tales as he collected his OBE.

The 2018 Tour de France winner and double Olympic champion was recognised for his services to cycling at a royal investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday.

Mr Thomas received his honour from William, telling the PA news agency afterwards: “It was an honour to meet him.”

“It was surreal,” he added.

Mr Thomas, who grew up on the outskirts of Cardiff, said the duke asked him about his baby boy who was born three weeks ago.

“He asked how the sleepless nights were going,” Mr Thomas said.

“He said their first one took a while for his sleep to kick in.

“You don’t really know what to expect, but to chat to him about the rugby and my baby was surreal.”

bpanews_b58f0b7d-52b2-4792-9568-cd2f82e8d6ab_embedded247783944
Geraint Thomas is made an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) by the Duke of Cambridge (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The cyclist added that it was “humbling” to collect his OBE.

Others to collect honours on Tuesday included Silverback Films co-founder Alastair Fothergill, who received his OBE for services to film.

Mr Fothergill produced several series narrated by Sir David Attenborough including the Netflix series Our Planet and the BBC’s Planet Earth.

He said William recognised him after they met earlier in the year in Davos when the duke interviewed Sir David.

bpanews_b58f0b7d-52b2-4792-9568-cd2f82e8d6ab_embedded247783562
Director Alastair Fothergill with his Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) medal (Yui Mok/PA)

Mr Fothergill said the duke had been “very supportive” of his conservation work on television.

“It was nice to talk to him about that and continuing plans for the environment and his passion for the environment,” he said.

“The duke is such a passionate advocate for the natural world.”

Production designer Karen Christie, who is known as Bunny Christie, said it was “really fun” to have received an OBE for her services to theatre.

“We were talking about going to the theatre and he said he needed to go to the theatre more and I agreed with him,” she said with a laugh.

Author Sarah Waters also received an OBE from the duke for her services to literature.

Ms Waters, who was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, said William was a “very calm” presence.

bpanews_b58f0b7d-52b2-4792-9568-cd2f82e8d6ab_embedded247783499
Author Sarah Waters received an Order of the British Empire (OBE) medal (Yui Mok/PA)

“He asked me about my books and he said he doesn’t get much time to read, understandably, but he’s into audio books,” she said.

Photographer Terence O’Neill, who has captured high-profile figures from Winston Churchill to Nelson Mandela, Elvis, and Nicole Kidman, collected his CBE for services to photography.

He said it “heightened” the honour to have received it from William.

“It surpasses anything I’ve had happen to me in my life,” he added.

Wildlife conservationist Jonathan Vaughan said it was “delightful” to receive his MBE from the duke given his involvement with conservation.

Mr Vaughan, who is the executive director of the Lilongwe Wildlife Trust in Malawi, was recognised for his services to combating the illegal wildlife trade.

“It’s a topic the duke knows well,” he said.

bpanews_b58f0b7d-52b2-4792-9568-cd2f82e8d6ab_embedded247783793
Jonathan Vaughan, Executive Director, Lilongwe Wildlife Trust, Malawi, with his Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) medal (Yui Mok/PA)

Among those knighted on Tuesday were Rolls-Royce chairman Sir Ian Davis for his service to business and Sir Frederick Hazlewood, also for his service to business.

Sir Ian said it “felt great” to have been recognised at such a “special” ceremony.

“The prince is absolutely charming,” he said.

“It’s very nice to get the honour and recognition.”

PA

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph