Jo Shapcott has won the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry, its judges saluting the "calm but sparkling Englishness" of her award-winning verse.
Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, chair of the judging panel, said the medal was "the true crowning of her career".
Shapcott won the Costa Book of the Year award in January for Of Mutability, a collection of poems partly inspired by her battle against breast cancer.
George V inaugurated the Gold Medal for Poetry in 1933.
Previous recipients include WH Auden, John Betjeman, Philip Larkin and Ted Hughes.
Duffy said Shapcott's work combined "accessibility with a deeply cerebral engagement with all the facets of being human".
The London-born writer has won several poetry prizes since publishing her first book in 1988, including the Commonwealth Poetry prize and the Forward Poetry prize.
According to The Guardian, she was offered a CBE in 2003 but turned it down because she objected to the UK's involvement in the invasion of Iraq.