The Oldie magazine said Tuesday that Queen Elizabeth II turned down an award celebrating the elderly, assessing that at age 95 she doesn’t meet the criteria.
The publication wrote to palace officials in July to ask whether she would accept the Oldie of the Year award, previously given to her late husband and her own mother.
But on 21 August in a reply from his Balmoral estate in north-eastern Scotland, Tom Lang-Baker, the monarch’s assistant private secretary, apologized to his boss.
“Her Majesty believes that you are as old as you feel, as if the Queen does not believe that she meets the relevant criteria to be able to be accepted, and hopes that you will find a more deserving recipient,” he said.
The tongue-in-cheek award, which celebrates the achievements of older people, went to French-American actress and dancer Leslie Caron—who turns 90.
The Queen succeeded her father, King George VI, in 1952 and celebrates her platinum jubilee the following year to complete 70 years on the throne, but she has overestimated her longevity.
When she became Britain’s longest-reigning monarch in September 2015, she treated the day like no other, opening a new railway in the Scottish border region with England.
“Inevitably, a long life can cross many milestones; my own is no exception,” she said at the time.
Despite her husband Prince Philip’s death in April at the age of 99 and his advanced age, the Queen has not retired from public life, and keeps a regular diary of audience and attendance.
Last week he was seen using a walking stick in public for the first time.
But on Tuesday, she held two audiences via videolink with the Japanese and the European Union ambassador, and was scheduled to host a reception for international business and investment leaders.
Writer and broadcaster Giles Brandreth, a friend of Prince’s, wrote in The Oldie that he was delighted to receive the award in 2011.
“There’s nothing in it to remind morale that the years are passing – more quickly – and that bits are starting to leave the ancient frame,” he replied.
“But it’s good to remember.”
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