The Wales and Ospreys player stepped up in front of his family, friends and councillors to receive his city’s highest honour. He is the first person to do so in the city’s 50th anniversary year.
Jones captivated the world of rugby and his home nation after this year leading the country to its third Grand Slam and fourth Six Nations championship in a decade.
The accolade caps a remarkable few months for a rugby player who last month also helped see Ospreys through to qualification for next year’s elite European Champions Cup competition at the Liberty Stadium against the Scarlets.
Jones said: “I was initially apprehensive to receive the award due to my awareness of the significant contribution to our city of people in far more important occupations and services. Thus I am supremely flattered to accept the award.”
Rob Stewart, Leader of the Council, said: “We’re delighted Alun Wyn Jones has accepted our offer of the freedom of his home city. He’s a great ambassador for Swansea, working with the council and other organisations to raise the profile of the city and attract investment here.
“We are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Swansea’s city status which will make bestowing the honour on one of the greatest names in world rugby even more special.”
He added: “This honour is richly-deserved not just for the skill he shows on the pitch in every game he plays. This honour is in recognition of Alun Wyn Jones’ leadership and the example he sets to the rest of us.”
Jones is Wales’ second most-capped Welsh player on 125 caps, behind Gethin Jenkins on 129.
He captained the British & Irish Lions in the historic tour-winning Test against Australia in 2013. He was also in the side that secured the famous drawn series against New Zealand in 2017. He leads the Ospreys appearance table, playing 238 games for his home region.
The Freedom of the City of Swansea was awarded to Chris Coleman in 2016 for managing the Wales football team to the semi-final of the European Championships. John Charles, star of the 1958 World Cup team, was awarded the accolade in 2002. Fellow footballer Mel Nurse, who also played for Swansea and Wales and helped rescue the club from financial oblivion, was made a freeman of the city in 2016.
Others to have been granted the honour over the years include former US President Jimmy Carter, the late Lord Callaghan, HMS Scott, Dr Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury and, most recently, the world-renowned conductor and composer Sir Karl Jenkins.