The prestigious and, some would argue, anachronistic job of writing verse for the monarch has been associated with great literary names such as Alfred Lord Tennyson, Cecil Day-Lewis and John Betjeman. Today the laureate is no longer given the role 'in perpetuity'. What is more, the token annual salary of £100 and 'a butt of sack' (108 gallons of sweet wine) is no longer offered by the Crown. Instead, after the post was modernised by Tony Blair, the title is awarded once every 10 years and provides a more conventional, if still modest, annual income of less than £20,000.Before Motion settled to the task in 1999, Duffy had been the favourite. However, her status then as the mother of a young child and as a woman in a lesbian relationship made her wary of taking up such a prominent national position.
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on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 10:59 AM.
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