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Jolie honoured for campaigning work

Angelina Jolie has been made an honorary dame by the Queen for her campaigning work fighting sexual violence - and brought her family to meet the monarch.

The actress was presented with the award's insignia, during a private Buckingham Palace audience with the Queen, and then was joined by her actor husband Brad Pitt and their six children.

The Hollywood star was recognised in the Diplomatic Service and Overseas Birthday 2014 Honours list and received the honorary damehood for services to UK foreign policy and the campaign to end war-zone sexual violence.

The Oscar-winning celebrity is best known for her roles in films such as Maleficent, Salt and Tomb Raider, but running parallel to her successful movie career is her campaigning work as a humanitarian.

The 39-year-old actress has been described by US secretary of state John Kerry as a "fierce and fearless advocate'' and he said her dedication to campaigning could overtake her film roles as her lasting legacy.

During the audience, the Queen presented the actress with the insignia of an Honorary Dame Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George.

The award was first announced in June during the week when Angelina was co-chairing the End Sexual Violence in Conflict (ESVC) global summit in London with then foreign secretary William Hague.

She said at the time the award was made public: "To receive an honour related to foreign policy means a great deal to me, as it is what I wish to dedicate my working life to.

''Working on the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative and with survivors of rape is an honour in itself.

''I know that succeeding in our goals will take a lifetime, and I am dedicated to it for all of mine.''

After the presentation took place in the Palace's 1844 room, Brad and the couple's six children were shown in and presented to the Queen.

The couple, who have been together for almost 10 years and married in August, have three adopted children Maddox, 13, Pax, 10, and Zahara, aged nine, and three biological children, Shiloh, aged eight, and six-year-old twins Vivienne and Knox.

The Hollywood stars have spent this year working on movies. Angelina's second directorial effort, the Second World War odyssey Unbroken, will be released in December in the US, while Brad stars in Fury, also a Second World War drama and due out in America later this month.

As an American citizen the actress cannot style herself a Dame but can use the initials of the award after her name.

Honorary damehoods and knighthoods are conferred by the Queen, on the advice of the Foreign Secretary, on those who have made an important contribution to relations between their country and Britain.

While the Order of St Michael and St George, founded in 1818 by the Prince Regent, later George IV, recognises extraordinary or important non-military service in a foreign country.

Other past recipients of honorary awards include U2 frontman Bono, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and veteran broadcaster Terry Wogan, who were all made honorary knights.

Angelina, who won an Oscar for best supporting actress in the drama Girl, Interrupted, is co-founder of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) and she is also special envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Since co-founding PSVI with Mr Hague in May 2012, she has made an exceptional contribution to the development, promotion and impact of this major UK objective.

Building on her long-term humanitarian work for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), she has been at the forefront of the initiative to highlight and seek justice for the plight of some of the most vulnerable people on the planet - the victims of sexual violence in conflict.

A film the actress made - In The Land Of Blood And Honey - brought her and Mr Hague together, leading to the ESVC summit at the ExCeL exhibition centre in London's Docklands in June.

Angelina has said she was ''very moved'' that the 2011 film, which is set in Bosnia during the conflict and explores the issue of women suffering from sexual violence, was responded to by Mr Hague.

The actress announced in a New York Times article last year that she had a preventative double mastectomy.

She took the decision to have the procedure because she carries the ''faulty'' gene BRCA1, which sharply increases her risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer.