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Welsh congratulations for Cerys MBE

The Prince of Wales presented rock star Cerys Matthews with her MBE today - and congratulated her in Welsh.

Charles bestowed the honour on the 45-year-old singer during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace, and took the opportunity to demonstrate the language he learned before his investiture as Prince of Wales.

"He said congratulations in Welsh, which is a tough word - llongyfarchiadau," Matthews said.

"I recently was invited to one of his and Camilla's evenings in the Llwynywermod, where he has a house.

"It's a very magical part of the world and it sort of makes sense that he's got a place there because of his interest in botany and the natural sciences, so we talked about that."

Matthews, who was born in Cardiff and raised in Swansea, is best known as the lead singer of pop band Catatonia, but feels just as at home humming along to centuries-old folk tunes.

"I've been a collector of songs since I was a child," she said.

"Early jazz, country blues, Spanish songs, Catalan songs, Welsh, Irish - I think you find so much about humans and their history, the story of man, in a beautiful two-minute song.

"Quite often songs travel way further than we can ever travel, and they can outlive us all.

"There's one I'm thinking of - Who's Going To Show Your Pretty Little Feet ... it started off life as a Scottish song about a girl getting pregnant by the lord, and him not marrying her, her being ostracised. Her baby and her die of exposure.

"But the song goes over the sea, with the migrants from Scotland, to Appalachia, where it's picked up by people like Woody Guthrie and it becomes 'The longest train I ever did see was 100 coaches long, and the only woman I ever did love was on that train and gone'.

"From one tragic story of class divide, essentially, it becomes a very American love story."

Matthews is an ambassador for the Prince's Trust, among other charities, and s ince 2008 she has presented a show on BBC Radio 6 Music.

She wore a tailored black jacket for the occasion teamed with a black feathered hat by London milliner Jess Collett.

Former Disasters Emergency Committee chief executive Brendan Gormley was knighted for his contributions to the UK emergency humanitarian response to overseas disasters, while theatrical wigmaker Angela Cobbin was awarded an MBE for services to theatre and to the community in Clapham, south London.

The 68-year-old has worked on top-tier productions from the West End to Broadway but behind the scenes the tools of her trade can be decidedly less glamorous.

She said: "Generally the costume designer tells me exactly what they want, what period it's going to be, that kind of thing, and then I go away and do all the fittings for them - which involves obviously a tape measure, but also cling film and Sellotape.

"I draw around the actress's hairline, mark out where they want a parting, pick their hair colour."

Charles was keen to confirm that she used human hair, Ms Cobbin said.

"I use a hair merchant and he goes all over the world. It's getting in short supply now so it's very expensive," she added.

Grey, blonde and white are the priciest shades - Ms Cobbin has been known to shell out more than £100 for 50 grams.

Also honoured at the ceremony was Hemel Hempstead mother-of-two Kelly Alleyne, who is currently attached to the Child Exploitation Online Protection unit and was recognised with an MBE for her work in protecting children online.

Brigadier Rupert Jones was made a Commander of the British Empire for services in Afghanistan, where he led British troops in 2012.

He said afterwards: "It's a great privilege, of course. (The Prince) said what a good job the British forces have been doing in Afghanistan, and we had a conversation about the prospects of the country for the future.

"At the end of our combat operations, I think what we can say is we've given the Afghans an opportunity. The country is transformed. And I think that's all we can do: it's up the the Afghans how they use that opportunity."

Brig Jones said be believed his father, Victoria Cross hero Lieutenant Colonel Herbert "H" Jones, who died leading a charge in the Falklands, "would be very proud".

"I think - in many ways much more importantly - his generation, those that served in the Falklands, would just be exceptionally proud of the successes of those who served in Afghanistan," he said.

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