A British cellist who played at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding has had his passport cancelled by the Home Office.
Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who was appointed as Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) last year, said he needed the British passport because of Brexit red tape.
In a Facebook post yesterday, in which he tagged Home Secretary Priti Patel and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, the 22-year-old said: “Applied for an additional British passport with the approval of Home Office to assist with applications for visas and international work permits in this post #Brexit #Covid world along with my sister, pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason.
“Appointments 15 mins apart, identical paperwork submitted. She receives original passport and second one within a week. Mine comes back cancelled 10 June (expiry 2029).
“Since then, despite constant calls I have NO explanation, NO forthcoming assistance and NO way of playing the engagements I am contracted to play. Ideas appreciated asap please.”
The Home Office has issued a statement apologising for the “inconvenience”.
“We apologise to Mr Kanneh-Mason for any inconvenience caused as a result of this incident, which was due to human error.
“We have now issued him with a replacement passport,” a Home Office spokesperson said.
They said a replacement passport would be issued as soon as possible, and this morning the cellist posted a photo of the passport thanking all his Facebook followers for their support.
Kanneh-Mason was born in Nottingham to Dr Kadiatu Kanneh, a former lecturer at the University of Birmingham from Siera Leone, and Stuart Mason, a luxury hotel business manager from Antigua.
He is sought after following his 2018 royal wedding performance at Windsor Castle, which gathered two billion views worldwide.
His passport struggles triggered hundreds of reactions.
English soprano Christina Johnston said: “I had similar problems for my husband!! It is a nightmare with no help! Thinking of you and praying for you!”
Alison Bowry, from Hertfordshire said: “Outrageous – and highlights the cruelty and utter absurdity of this government.”
She added: “I hope you status as a well-known and respected musician will help. So many others have no voice at all. The system is atrocious.”
“Hostile environment strikes again”
Rachel Pearce from Bedfordshire said: “The hostile environment strikes again. I am so desperately sad and ashamed of our government.”
Charles Bockett-Pugh said: “This is a monstrous miscarriage of justice, but sadly typical of the total incompetence of this government.
“Proud to be British? You must be joking.”
Cathy Watt, from Quebec, Canada, said: “I am shocked to hear this. How can this happen? I will never forget your stunning performance at Prince Harry’s wedding.
“You are beloved by so many people. I pray that someone in the upper echelons of society and government can quickly come to your aid. You deserve the best.”