King Charles III awards MBE to doctor who arrived in UK as child refugee from Iraq

Dr Bnar Talabani, who received award for combatting Covid-19 misinformation, says British monarch showed keen interest in her background

Dr Bnar Talabani has pursued a career as a kidney and transplant hospital doctor and immunology scientist. Photo: Dr Bnar Talabani
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A doctor who arrived in the UK as a child refugee from Iraq has received a top award from King Charles III for her prominent role in combatting Covid-19 misinformation throughout the pandemic.

Dr Bnar Talabani beamed as the monarch, 74, pinned the ribbon of the Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) on her dress during a ceremony at Windsor Castle on Thursday.

She said the monarch, 74, was “really interested” to hear about her background.

The immunology scientist shared photos of their meeting on social media.

“Investiture at Windsor Castle: I met His Majesty the King who was really interested in my background as a former refugee and was utterly delightful to talk to,” she wrote.

“Really special day celebrating with my wonderful family.”

The king could be seen shaking Dr Talabani’s hand and pinning a red ribbon on her dress, in the pictures.

As congratulations poured in for the outspoken doctor, she said she felt “really overwhelmed by everyone’s kind responses”.

Dr Talabani was born in 1988 in northern Iraq to a Kurdish family.

As a toddler, she left her homeland for Iran along with her mother and younger brother to escape Saddam Hussein's regime. Her father and grandfather remained behind to fight against the dictator.

After making their way to Syria, the Talabanis were recognised as refugees and welcomed to the UK.

Dr Talabani went on to graduate from medical school and pursue a career as a kidney and transplant hospital doctor and immunology scientist at Cardiff University.

She also works as a guide for Team Halo, a global group of scientists and healthcare professionals working to dispel misinformation about the coronavirus.

During the height of the public health crisis she made a name for herself on TikTok.

Dr Talabani used her platform on social media to reach followers, many of them young people, to challenge false and inaccurate claims about Covid.

Updated: February 09, 2023, 2:53 PM

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