Home Lifestyle Baroness Amos becomes first black person appointed by Queen to prestigious order

Baroness Amos becomes first black person appointed by Queen to prestigious order

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Baroness Amos becomes first black person appointed by Queen to prestigious order

Baroness Valerie Amos, 67, a Labour member of the House of Lords, will be the first black person appointed Lady Companion of the Order.

Baroness Valerie Amos has become the first black person to be appointed the Order of the Garter, Buckingham Palace has announced. Baroness Amos was also the first black person to become a cabinet minister and has been appointed Lady Companion of the Order, the oldest and most senior British Order of Chivalry.

Baroness Amos was previously made a Companion of Honour in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2016. The new appointment can only be made by the Queen and only three have been made this year. The other two have gone to former prime minister Tony Blair and the Duchess of Cornwall. The latter has received the Order in recognition of her contribution to the monarchy.

A statement from Buckingham Palace said: “The Queen has been graciously pleased to appoint The Right Honourable Valerie Ann, Baroness Amos C.H. to be a Lady Companion.”

Guyana-born Valerie Amos moved to Great Britain with her family in 1963 and built a career working for equal opportunities. As a member of the House of Lords, she served as the government spokeswoman for social security, international development, women’s issues, and foreign and Commonwealth affairs.

Between 1989 and 1994 she was chief executive of the Equal Opportunities Commission.

She was a co-founder and director of Amos Fraser Bernard, advising the South African government on public service reform, human rights, and employment equity. Baroness Amos became Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council in late 2003.

She held the positions of parliamentary under-Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs from June 2001, with responsibility for Africa, the Commonwealth, the Caribbean, Britain’s Overseas Territories, Consular Affairs, and Personnel Issues.

Her role as International Development Secretary came after Clare Short quit the post in protest at the war in Iraq in 2003. Baroness Amos also served as a Government Whip in the House of Lords between 1998 and 2001 and spokesperson on Social Security, International Development, and Women’s Issues. Each year, Royal Knights and Ladies of the Order of the Garter gather at St George’s Chapel in Windsor for a colourful procession and ceremony.

Watched by crowds of onlookers, they walk down the hill to the chapel from the State Apartments, dressed in blue velvet mantles, red velvet hoods, black velvet hats, and white ostrich plumes.

Royal Knights and Ladies in the Order include the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge, Princess Royal, the Duke of York, and the Earl of Wessex.

Appointments to the Garter are in the Queen’s gift and made without prime ministerial advice.

They are for life unless a Knight or Lady Companion offends against certain “points of reproach”.

Founded in 1348 by Edward III, the Garter is awarded by the sovereign for outstanding public service and achievement and are said to have been inspired by events at a ball in northern France.

Author: Linda .R. Jones

London, UK

lindarj83@gmail.com