Bettany Hughes says history really matters as she is made an OBE

Historian and TV presenter Bettany Hughes paid tribute to her former teachers as she was made an OBE.

Hughes has written and presented more than 50 TV and radio documentaries for the BBC, Channel 4, Netflix, Channel 5, Discovery, National Geographic, ITV and others.

The presenter, 52, one of the first to break into the then male-dominated domain of history programmes, said that when she started out history was “deeply unfashionable”.

She said: “Having the chance to serve the subject and ideas you love is such an honour.

“History really matters – we should never live in the past, but we’re foolish to think we can live without it. History can act as a moral agent.

“Writing the voices – not just of the loudest and most powerful, but those who have been neglected, overlooked, forgotten – back into history nourishes the collective experience.

“Sharing the stories and experiences of past lives gives us all the time in the world to think.”

Hughes also paid tribute to her father, who died in February, while she was filming in Egypt and unable to get back in time.

“Of course I owe all this to my brilliant, diligent teachers at school and university. And to my darling dad – only just passed – who, across close on a century, always took time out to listen to the stories of others.”

In 2018, Hughes was the first woman to be awarded the European Helena Vaz da Silva Prize for promoting public awareness of cultural heritage.

Hughes has penned several books, including The Hemlock Cup: Socrates, Athens And The Search For The Good Life, which was a New York Times bestseller. Her latest work is a history of the city of Istanbul.

She was given the Norton Medlicott Medal for History and fought to get women on screen in authorial roles.

Hughes is made an OBE for services to history.

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