MIA receives MBE from Prince William: “Today I’m accepting this in honour of my mother”

Her mother was by her side at the Buckingham Palace ceremony

MIA was awarded an MBE from Prince William at Buckingham Palace earlier today (January 14).

The British-Sri Lankan musician – real name is Maya Arulpragasam – responded to being included in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List back in June, and was given the nod owing to her “services to music.”

MIA attended the prestigious ceremony today along with her mother Kala Pragasam, who was previously one of two women tasked with making the MBE medals each year.


“Having received this medal means so much on so many levels,” MIA wrote in a statement on Instagram.

“My mother, a working-class refugee who received asylum in England in the Eighties, along with my cousin, are the only two women responsible for hand-stitching these medals for the palace.”

Both her mother and cousin took up their roles of medal stitchers back in 1986, holding their jobs for three decades.

M.I.A. with her MBE following the ceremony at Buckingham Palace. CREDIT: Getty Images

“Today I’m accepting this in honour of my mother who worked for minimum wage to give us a better life,” Arulpragasam said.


She went on to explain that “as a working-class first-generation immigrant, it’s great to be recognised for [her] contribution” to the music industry.

MIA added: “Having freedom to speak my truth and to do it through music has helped me speak for those who do not have those privileges. I will continue to fight for those who are silenced or persecuted by others.”

Later, the rapper took to Instagram to post a close-up shot of her medal. “Mum actually made this 1!!! she wrote in the caption. “They don’t make this ribbon anymore. I actually got 1 of the MBE medals she stitched.”

Her MBE comes after MIA visited Westminster Magistrates Court earlier this week to air her support for WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange. She stood outside the court building and asked the gathered crowd what they wanted her to discuss with the Queen, with those in attendance replying: “Free Julian Assange!”

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