Queen turns down ‘oldie of the year’ award – saying ‘you’re as old as you feel’

The Queen has turned down an Oldie of the Year trophy because she feels she does not meet the criteria, believing "you are only as old as you feel".

The 95-year-old monarch "politely but firmly" declined the award, but sent a message with her "warmest best wishes".

Her late husband, The Duke of Edinburgh, was the recipient of the award in 2011, when he was 90 years old.

Author and broadcaster Gyles Brandreth, chairman of the awards, wrote to the Queen's private secretary Sir Edward Young to ask if she would accept the main Oldie of the Year accolade, after actress Dame Maureen Lipman, one of the judges suggested her.

In a letter published in the November issue of the award's magazine, her assistant private secretary Tom Laing-Baker wrote: "Her Majesty believes you are as old as you feel, 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 Queen is the nation's longest-reigning monarch and is due to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee, 70 years on the throne, next year.

She still keeps a busy diary of events and audiences and deals with her daily red boxes of official papers.

On Tuesday, she is hosting a reception at Windsor Castle for international business and investment leaders to mark the Global Investment Summit.

Her daughter-in-law, the Duchess of Cornwall, joined Brandreth for the publication’s first in-person awards ceremony since 2019 at The Savoy hotel in London.

For the past 29 years, the Oldie of The Year Awards have celebrated the achievements of those of the older generation who have made a special contribution to public life.

Previous winners have included everyone from Oscar winners to Nobel laureates, from community care nurses to veteran athletes, from Sir John Major to Dame Olivia de Havilland and David Hockney.

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Brandreth revealed that actress Dame Maureen Lipman, one of the judges, raised the prospect of the magazine honouring the Queen in recognition of her leadership during the pandemic and ahead of the Jubilee.

He described the letter he received from Balmoral Castle in response as “lovely”, writing: “Perhaps in the future we will sound out Her Majesty once more.”

Philip, who received the award 10 years ago, wrote a letter of appreciation, joking: “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.

“But it is nice to be remembered at all.”

The Queen’s husband of 73 years died in April.

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