UK's Queen Elizabeth II, 95, turns down old age award

The Queen said she did not meet the criteria for 'Oldie of the Year'

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II turned down a prize celebrating the elderly, saying that at 95 she did not meet the criteria, The Oldie magazine said on Tuesday.

The publication wrote to palace officials in July to ask if she would accept its Oldie of the Year award, which was earlier given to her late husband and mother.

But in a reply dated August 21 from her Balmoral estate in north-east Scotland, the monarch's assistant private secretary, Tom Laing-Baker, made Elizabeth's apologies.

"Her Majesty believes you are as old as you feel," Mr Laing-Baker said. "As such, the queen does not believe she meets the relevant criteria to be able to accept, and hopes you will find a more worthy recipient."

The tongue-in-cheek award, which celebrates the achievements of older people, went to the French-American actress and dancer Leslie Caron, who is 90.

The queen succeeded her father, king George VI, in 1952 and next year celebrates her Platinum Jubilee to mark 70 years on the throne, but she has played down her longevity.

When Elizabeth became Britain's longest-reigning monarch in September 2015, she treated the day like any other, opening a railway in the Scottish border region with England.

"Inevitably, a long life can pass many milestones. My own is no exception," she said at the time.

Despite her husband Prince Philip's death in April, aged 99, and her advanced age, the Queen has not retired from public life, and maintains a regular diary of audiences and appearances.

Last week she was seen in public using a walking stick.

But on Tuesday, she held two audiences by videolink with the Japanese and EU ambassadors, and was scheduled to host a reception for international business and investment leaders.

Writer and broadcaster Gyles Brandreth, who was a friend of Prince Philip, wrote in The Oldie that he was delighted to receive the award in 2011.

"There is nothing like it for morale to be reminded that the years are passing, ever more quickly, and that bits are beginning to drop off the ancient frame," Brandreth replied.

"But it is nice to be remembered at all."

Updated: October 20th 2021, 1:50 PM
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