The Queen may hold the honour of longest-reigning current monarch, but the Oldie of the Year Award is one such honour she refuses to accept as she “does not believe she meets the relevant criteria”.
The 95-year-old monarch politely declined the accolade but wished the organisers all the best in finding a more suitable candidate.
In a letter of reply published by Oldie Magazine, the Queen’s 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 Oldie (@OldieMagazine) October 19, 2021
Although her mother-in-law the Queen was not in attendance, The Duchess of Cornwall was on hand to present the awards to the 2021 winners at the Savoy hotel in London which included dancer Leslie Caron, footballer Sir Geoff Hurst, and Dame Delia Smith.
The Oldie of the Year Awards has celebrated the achievements of those of a certain age who have made a special contribution to public life for the past 29 years. Previous winners have included Oscar winners everyone to athletes, including Sir David Major, David Hockey, and the late Duke of Edinburgh who was named Oldie of the Year in 2011 to mark his 90th birthday.
When Prince Phillip was awarded the honour in 2011 he responded, “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,” he said.
“But it is nice to be remembered at all.”
The Queen is set to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee next year, marking 70 years on the throne, and although she’s five years away from turning 100 her schedule hasn’t slowed down following advice from her team to cut back on social engagements.
She recently spoke with the new Governor-General of New Zealand Dame Cindy Kiro, attended a special service at Westminster Abbey to mark the centenary Royal British Legion, and attended the opening of the Welsh Parliament.