Prince Harry and Meghan's cellist says patriotic 'Rule, Britannia' makes him 'uncomfortable'

Cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who performed at Prince Harry and Meghan's 2016 royal wedding at 19 years old, said that the patriotic song Rule, Britannia! should not be performed at the Last Night of the Proms event because it makes people "uncomfortable."

In an interview with BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, Kanneh Mason revealed that he did not stay to hear the song after he performed at the event last year. "I don’t think it should be included and I didn’t stay for that. That’s just my opinion," he said.

"I think, maybe, some people don’t realize how uncomfortable a song like that can make a lot of people feel, even if it makes them feel good," he continued. "I think that’s somehow a big misunderstanding about it.”

There is so much wonderful British music, the wealth of folk music from this country is astonishing," Kenneh-Messon suggested instead. "I think that would be [a] wonderful thing to take its place."

According to the BBC, the song has caused controversy in the past as some claim that it has associations with Britain's colonial past and slavery. The BBC caused controversy in 2020 when it announced that the song would not be sung at The Last Night of the Proms, and only an instrumental would be played.

The outlet claimed the decision was due to COVID-19 restrictions, but subsequently, they backtracked and the song was sung.

In response to the Cellist's suggestion, a BBC spokesperson said, "The Proms are built on long-standing traditions that were established by co-founder Sir Henry Wood, and which are loved by people around the world." They added, "One of these traditions is the Last Night festivities, other traditions include promoting new music, accessibility, and opening up the world of classical music to as many people as possible."


Image: Title: Cellist
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