Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson has said he was delighted to have his wife Iris at his side in public again.
But a year after scandal forced her from political life, the Democratic Unionist leader asked for the media to give his wife space.
Iris Robinson made her first appearance in front of the cameras at the gala dinner held for the Queen in Dublin.
Last year she hit the headlines after admitting to an affair with a teenager, but mental illness forced her into long-term medical care.
Mr Robinson, critical of some media comments on her return to the spotlight, said: "She has received months of treatment thereafter.
"And while she can look a million dollars when she's out, when those kind of comments are made, it has an affect."
He added: "Forgive me for protecting my wife but she has had a very difficult time, she has come through it with great courage.
"I was delighted that she was at my side last night.
"I don't intend to impose on her on every occasion to do so, but when she feels it is right and proper, and she is fit to do it, I'll be delighted to have her there."