Prince Charles presented actress Keira Knightley with an OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for her contributions in drama and charity work in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Thursday this week. Knightley was joined by her husband, James Righton, and her parents, Will Knightley and Sharman Macdonald as she received the honour.
The two-time Oscar nominee was dressed smartly in a yellow tweed blazer and skirt from French fashion house Chanel, for which she is an ambassador, and beamed brightly as she spoke with the Prince of Wales. Knightley joins other esteemed British personalities such as Victoria Beckham, Eddie Redmayne and James Corden, who have also received an OBE.
Knightley was recently at the centre of a media firestorm when she published an essay titled “The Weaker Sex,” in a collection called Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (And Other Lies). In the piece, the actress spoke about the pressures placed on women following the Duchess of Cambridge’s appearance outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital hours after giving birth to Princess Charlotte in 2015. The actress gave birth to her own daughter, Edie, just a day earlier than Kate and wrote:
“We stand and watch the TV screen. She was out of hospital seven hours later with her face made up and high heels on. The face the world wants to see. Hide. Hide our pain, our bodies splitting, our breasts leaking, our hormones raging. Look beautiful. Look stylish, don’t show your battleground, Kate. Seven hours after your fight with life and death, seven hours after your body breaks open, and bloody, screaming life comes out. Don’t show. Don’t tell. Stand there with your girl and be shot by a pack of male photographers.”
Knightley spoke about the press attention to the piece at the 2018 BFI London Film Festival in October, saying: “I think it’s very interesting that certain parts of the media have, I don’t want to say purposefully, but let’s just say misrepresented my meaning and exactly what I said…So I would suggest to those people in the media that they re-read the entirety of the essay and not just take one bit out of it because the comments that I made are completely about our culture that silences women’s truths and forces us all to hide and I absolutely did not shame anybody in any way, in fact quite the opposite.”
She added: “I suggest if you want to know about this then you should actually read the essay and all the others in the book and the wonderful thing is that all the proceeds go to Girl Up which is a phenomenal UN foundation which gives money to organizations that are supporting girls’ education, girls’ safety and girls’ leadership in developing countries.”