First tipped for the job 10 years earlier, she finally became the first female poet laureate in 2009
The first female poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, 55, was first touted for the job in 1999, but was reluctant because of her status as a mother in a lesbian relationship. Ten years later she accepted, but insisted it was a prize for other women, saying: "I look on it as recognition of the great women poets we now have writing."
It was certainly a long-awaited acknowledgement – the first woman to be considered for the laureate, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, was overlooked for Alfred Lord Tennyson. And after his death, rather than award it to Christina Rossetti, the position was left vacant until Alfred Austin was appointed. Yet it seems fitting the first woman would be Duffy, not just critically acclaimed, but loved for her witty ways of filling the gaps left by women's silences in her collection, The World's Wife, which saw every poem told in the voice of a wife of a great historical figure, and Feminine Gospels.