Former CPS head and animal welfare figure receive honours from Princess Royal

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Former director of public prosecutions Alison Saunders has been made a Dame Commander, a move that sparked criticism when first announced.

The Princess Royal hosted the investiture ceremony where the ex-head of the Crown Prosecution Service was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the Bath for services to criminal justice.

Dame Alison declined to talk to the press after the ceremony staged at St James’s Palace.

The damehood was labelled a “reward for failure” when announced in the 2019 New Year Honours, but at the time Dame Alison defended her honour in an interview with The Times newspaper, saying it was for “30 years of public service”.

Director of Public Prosecutions portraits
Dame Alison Saunders (Andrew Matthews/PA)

She quit her post in 2018 after a series of controversies including the collapse of a series of rape trials due to the late disclosure of evidence, leading to a review of every rape case in the country.

Despite usual practice, Dame Alison did not receive an honour after stepping down, and it was believed to have been withheld after then prime minister Theresa May demanded an end to automatic honours for civil servants accused of failing in their roles.

Also recognised during the ceremony was Claire Horton, former chief executive of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, who was made a CBE for services to animal welfare.

Investitures at St James’s Palace
Claire Horton after being made a CBE (Yui Mok/PA)

She spent more than 10 years at the leading charity before leaving to take up the role of director general with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Mrs Horton said about being chief executive of the animal welfare organisation: “Even though the role is challenging it brings with it such rewards because you’re making a life and death difference to animals – cats and dogs.”

She said about the CBE: “I’m very proud, and I will be really clear, it’s me that’s received this today but ultimately it’s testament to the work of an awful lot of people over many years in Battersea and our colleagues in the sector.”

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