Profile: Annie Lennox, singer

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She's looking very prim. I thought she was a bit of a rebel...

She was awarded an OBE by the Queen yesterday, so had to look smart. When she heard she was on the list, Lennox said she was honoured, but also feared someone at the Palace might have done something "terribly wrong".

So what's she being rewarded for?

In 2003, she heard Nelson Mandela describe the AIDS epidemic as genocide. The speech inspired her to activism, and in 2007 she founded the SING campaign. In partnership with Comic Relief, it raises funds and awareness to help stem the spread of the disease in Africa.

Isn't she too busy singing? In recent years, Lennox has been more absorbed by charity work than by boosting her musical career. She often combines the two though: in 2003 she brought together 23 female artists including Madonna, Dido, k.d. lang and Celine Dion to record "Sing", which raised £100,000.

Sounds like she's mellowed...

Perhaps. Her last album, A Christmas Cornucopia (she was born on Christmas Day), was a reworking of her favourite carols. Elegantly turned out yesterday, her royal purple silk dress and pearls were a far cry from the leopard-print pillbox hat she'd joked would be dusted off for the occasion.