Queen, 95, 'politely' declines Oldie of the Year by explaining ‘you are only as old as you feel’

The Queen uses a walking stick in public for the first time during a service at Westminster Abbey in October 2021.
Credit: PA
The Queen is seen using a walking stick in public for the first time during a Westminster Abbey service. Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The Queen has turned down the 'Oldie of the Year' trophy, because she does not feel she meets the criteria.

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

As her Buckingham Palace aide explained in the official rejection letter: “you are only as old as you feel”.

Author and broadcaster Gyles Brandreth, chairman of the awards, had written 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 letter from the Queen’s Assistant Private Secretary outlining the award rejection. Credit: The Oldie/PA

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.

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

She held two audiences on Tuesday via video link from Windsor Castle, greeting the Japanese ambassador Hajime Hayashi and the EU ambassador Joao de Almeida.

The Queen at the Royal Windsor Horse Show Credit: Steve Parsons/PA

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

Previous winners have included Oscar winners and Nobel laureates, nurses, and athletes.

Former Prime Minister Sir John Major and artist David Hockney are also among past winners of the accolade.

'Oldie of the Year' nominee the Queen, 95, making use of video technology to carry out her engagements. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA

Mr 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.”

The late Duke of Edinburgh was named Oldie of the Year in 2011 to mark his 90th birthday.

Prince Philip 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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The monarch has been pictured out and about at the Royal Windsor Horse Show and Ascot in the months since, and still enjoys riding her own ponies.

Last week, she used a walking stick for what is believed to be the first time at a major public event when she attended a service marking the centenary of the Royal British Legion.

She has since made a public appearance without it.