Queen Elizabeth declines ‘Oldie of the Year’ award in cheeky letter

'You are as old as you feel!' Queen Elizabeth refused the 'Oldie of the Year Award' in what is described as 'the most polite non-acceptance in history'.

Queen Elizabeth declines ‘Oldie of the Year’ award in cheeky letter

Queen Elizabeth II – who turned 95 last April – turned down an award for “Oldie of the Year” from a British magazine with a polite (yet slightly cheeky) response.

The Queen refuses Oldie of the Year Award 

According to Page Six, the Oldie, a British monthly, has held the Oldie of the Year awards for the past 29 years to celebrate the achievements of those who have made a special contribution to public life while maintaining “undoubted snap in their celery”.

Every year they bestow an Oldie of the Year award in a light-hearted ceremony; previous winners have included Eileen Atkins, Glenda Jackson, Peter Blake, and David Hockney.

After being nominated, Queen Elizabeth wrote to the publication, saying that they should find a “more worthy recipient”:

“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, 19 October.

Even though the Queen turned it down, the Queen’s daughter-in-law, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, turned up at Oldie’s awards lunch to hand out honours like Champion Knitter of the Year and Truly Scrumptious Oldie of the Year.

The advantages of ageing – Camilla

In her remarks, Camilla acknowledged the advantages of ageing.

“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, according to.

The Queen’s late husband, Prince Philip also turned down the award in 2011, saying that “I much appreciate your invitation to receive an Oldie of the Year award. 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.”

A wicked sense of humour?

Earlier this year, the Queen – who is set to mark an astonishing 70 years on the throne with a Platinum Jubilee in 2022 – showed off her sword skills by insisting on cutting a cake ahead of meeting with G7 leaders in Cornwall, England. The Queen smiled and joked with Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge and Camilla as she swapped a knife for the longer blade at the G7 summit in the United Kingdom. G7 leaders were invited to join the Queen, along with other senior members of the family.

While the three royals were meeting local volunteers of the community to recognise their support for each other during the ongoing pandemic, the Queen walked to the cake with the sword saying: “I don’t think it’s going to work”.

When someone reminded her that there is a knife, she said: “I know there is…This is something that is more unusual.”

The comment – and the cutting of a cake with a sword, of course – caused Camilla, Kate, and others in the crowd to laugh.

Source : The South African More   

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Beauty salon a women’s haven in the Taliban’s Kabul

Mohadessa's beauty salon offers Aghanistan women an oasis, providing income and indulgence - in resistance to Taliban seizure

Beauty salon a women’s haven in the Taliban’s Kabul

It is one of the last places in Kabul where women can meet outside their households, a bubble of freedom and even frivolity away from the gaze of men.

Mohadessa has kept her beauty salon open despite threats from Afghanistan’s new rulers.  


Since the Taliban seized Kabul in mid-August, many women have disappeared from public spaces, driven into private areas out of fear and sometimes very real threats.

But Mohadessa’s beauty salon has, for now, remained a place where women can relax among themselves outside the household and share their woes — or forget them in favour of fun and fashion.


The oasis of feminine industry provides income for the staff and moments of indulgence for the clients, but its days may be numbered.

“We don’t want to give up and stop working,” the 32-year-old entrepreneur told AFP over the hubbub of women getting ready for a wedding celebration.

“We love that we have a job, and it is necessary for women to work in Afghan society – many of them are the breadwinners for their family.”

READ: Zodwa Wabantu is hiring! Here’s what to do to work in her salon


Customers are dropped off outside and whisked past posters advertising fashion and beauty brands that are now blotted out with white paint.

They quickly disappear into the shop through a heavy curtain.

Once inside, the women shed their headscarves and outer garments and their excited voices compete with the hum of hair-dryers as they choose their new looks.


The last time the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, between 1996 and the US-led intervention of 2001, women were obliged to wear the all-covering burqa.

Under the Islamist movement’s interpretation of Islamic law, beauty salons were banned outright.

Just having painted nails meant a woman could risk having her fingers cut off.


But since the Taliban returned to the capital and declared their Islamic Emirate, the movement has been at pains to present a more liberal face to the world.

Keen to secure international finance to head off economic disaster that could undermine their war gains, they have not rushed to reimpose restrictions on daily life.

That is not to say Mohadessa has not received threats.


A Taliban mob has shouted abuse outside her shop, but she has made use of the legal limbo to continue.

“I can say that the women at this salon are courageous because they come to work with fear,” she said.

“Every day they open the salon, they come in, and they continue to work, despite this fear.” 


On the day AFP visited, around 30 women had braved the climate of fear to come to the shop and prepare for a wedding, where the sexes are traditionally segregated during celebrations.

The women were clearly enjoying the rare chance to dress up and pamper themselves, with elaborate hair and eyelash decorations complementing a colourful make-up palette.

The bride’s sister, English teacher Farkhunda, gazes at the results of an hour-long makeover.

“Yes, it’s nice. It’s beautiful. It’s my first real day out since the end of August,” she said cheerfully.

But under the splash of glittery eye-shadow, one of her pupils is immobile, taken during a gun and bomb attack when she was a teenager.

“You see my eye? I lost it on my way to school when the Taliban attacked us. But I am not scared of them. I don’t want to talk about them. Today is for celebration,” she said.


The light-hearted mood is as fragile as the delicate bejewelled hair bands. At every movement of the curtain hiding the door to the outside world, the women stiffen and briefly fall silent.

But none of the clients want to tone down their look, a stylised, ultra-feminine rebuke to the Taliban’s looming curbs on free expression: dense foundation, long false lashes, dazzling colours and a China doll finish.

And 22-year-old Marwa, not her real name, with her asymmetric haircut exposing an ear dotted with piercings and decorative chains, sees a message of “resistance” in the stylings.

“We are not people with blue burkas. We are not people with black burkas. That’s not who we are,” she said.


Some of the women dream of leaving, others of change.

Farkhunda hopes she can get back to work while Mohadessa, determined to stay open, fears for her life.

She showed AFP a letter she believes comes from the Taliban’s new Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, warning her to close down.

Her response: “Until they come and put a knife to my throat, I’m staying here.”

by Daphne ROUSSEAU

© Agence France-Presse

Source : The South African More   

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