NEWPORT AM Rosemary Butler was officially invested as Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Friday.

Dame Rosemary, who is Newport West AM and presiding officer of the Assembly, was awarded the honour for political and public services to women and democracy.

She was invested with her damehood by Prince Charles at a ceremony at the palace.

Dame Rosemary said: “It’s a great honour to go to Buckingham Palace and be recognised for the work you have done.

“But this award isn’t just about my work; it’s also for the people who have worked with me and for me over the many years that I have been in frontline politics.

“The honour is also for my family, who have lovingly encouraged me to get involved in public life and try to change things for the better.

“It is also recognition of my Women in Public Life campaign, which I hope will encourage more women in Wales to enter public office and ensure that women’s voices are heard in the decision-making process,” she added.

Dame Rosemary has been Newport West’s first Assembly Member since 1999.

She has served as minister for pre-16 education and children and as chairwoman of the Assembly’s culture, Welsh language and sport committee.

She succeeded Dafydd Elis-Thomas in 2011, becoming the Assembly’s second presiding officer and the first woman to hold the role.

Her Women in Public Life Campaign saw the presiding officer named Devolved Parliament or Assembly Member of the Year, at the Women in Public Life awards in London.

Before becoming an Aseembly Member, Dame Rosemary served as a Labour councillor for Caerleon, starting in the early 1970s.