Queen refuses 'Oldie of the Year' award, saying 'you are only as old as you feel'

Queen Elizabeth II leaves after attending the opening ceremony of the sixth session of the Senedd in Cardiff.
Queen Elizabeth II leaves after attending the opening ceremony of the sixth session of the Senedd in Cardiff.

The monarch 'politely but firmly' declines the award, sending a message with her 'warmest best wishes'

Published

The Queen may be 95 but she has turned down the Oldie of the Year trophy because she feels she does not meet the criteria, believing “you are only as old as you feel”.

Giles Brandreth wrote to the Queen's private secretary to ask her if she would accept the award.
Giles Brandreth wrote to the Queen's private secretary to ask her if she would accept the award.

The monarch “politely but firmly” declined the award, but sent a message with her “warmest best wishes”.

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.

But in a letter published in the November issue of the 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, who is just five years away from her 100th birthday, is the nation’s longest reigning monarch and is due to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee – 70 years on the throne – next year.

Queen Elizabeth II leaves after attending a Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey in London to mark the Centenary of the Royal British Legion.
Queen Elizabeth II leaves after attending a Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey in London to mark the Centenary of the Royal British Legion.

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 has 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.