Queen, 95, Declines 'Oldie of the Year' Award Because She 'Does Not Believe She Meets the Relevant Criteria'

Queen Elizabeth politely declined the honor (which would have been presented alongside 'Oldie Champion Knitter' and 'Truly Scrumptious Oldie' awards) on the grounds that "you are as old as you feel"

Queen Elizabeth II attends the opening ceremony of the sixth session of the Senedd
Queen Elizabeth. Photo: Jacob King-WPA Pool/Getty Images

Age is just a number for Queen Elizabeth.

The 95-year-old monarch politely turned down The Oldie magazine's Oldie of the Year award with a characteristically regal (and ever-so-slightly cheeky) response.

"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 find a more worthy recipient," Tom Laing-Baker, the Queen's assistant private secretary, said in a letter shared by the magazine on Tuesday.

Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth's husband who died in April at age 99, was named Consort of the Year at the awards in 2012

"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," Philip said in response, according to the Evening Standard. "But it is nice to be remembered at all."

The Oldie is a monthly British magazine aimed towards the elderly "as a light-hearted alternative to a press obsessed with youth and celebrity," according to their website. Each year, they hold a tongue-in-cheek awards ceremony, with past recipients of the Oldie of the Year prize including David Hockney, Eileen Atkins, Stanley Baxter, Peter Blake, Glenda Jackson and Moira Stuart.

Although the Queen turned down the award, the ceremony went on with a royal stamp of approval on Tuesday. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall attended to hand out awards such as Oldie Champion Knitter of the Year and Truly Scrumptious Oldie of the Year.

Camilla, 74, gave a speech, starting with the history of the Abraham Lincoln Room at The Savoy hotel, where the event was held. It's where the American community in London frequently gathered during World War I and where Winston Churchill dined with his cabinet during World War II.

"Now, this is a room rich in history, so an appropriate setting for this year's Oldie of the Year Awards, which recognize the achievements of a range of remarkable older people who have made a special contribution to the world and who all — in the words of your founding editor, Richard Ingrams — 'still have snap in their celery,' " Camilla said. "Famously, Abraham Lincoln said, 'Whatever you are, be a good one.' And I think we can agree that, whatever they are, today's winners are very good ones indeed. My warm congratulations to all of them."

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. Chris Jackson - Pool/Getty Images

Camilla quoted a poem about the disadvantages about growing old by John Sparrow, but added there are advantages too.

"Watching one's children growing up; enjoying one's grandchildren — knowing that they'll be going home after the visit; finding more time to read; finding time to read The Oldie — and coming to jolly lunches like this one," Prince Charles's wife said.

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. Chris Jackson - Pool/Getty Images

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On Monday, the Queen spoke to Dame Cindy Kiro, who will be sworn in as the new Governor General of New Zealand on Thursday, via video call.

"It will be a big day," said Dame Cindy. Something you have gone through many times with many Governor Generals."

The monarch chuckles and, displaying a slight tone of resignation that hints at her unrivaled experience, said before the clip tails off, "Indeed I have, yes."

The Queen is set to mark 70 years on the throne with a Platinum Jubilee in 2022.

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