Part of Queen Elizabeth’s legacy is how she promoted a positive image of ageing. This has been highlighted by a number of organisations who focus on the care of older people.
Independent Age, Age UK and the Centre for Ageing Better have all issued statements about Britain’s longest serving monarch who became a symbol of the nation’s youthfulness.
‘She epitomised growing older with dignity and purpose,’ said Independent Age Acting Chief Executive Stuart Rogers. At 96, Elizabeth was 28 years past the UK’s official retirement age.
‘When the Queen turned down an award for older people at the age of 95 because “you are as old as you feel”, her positive attitude towards ageing shone through, alongside her warmth and renowned sense of humour.’
The Centre for Ageing Better noted how the Queen ‘constantly challenged the ill-considered stereotype that later life means inactivity, loss of purpose and disengagement with society’.
‘In particular, she supported a number of good causes supporting older people and for the betterment of society more generally,’ said Chief Executive Carole Easton.
‘As someone who resolutely and devoutly fulfilled her public duties through her 70s, 80s and 90s, she was a fantastic inspiration for many older people – who admired her for her stoicism, selflessness and commitment.’
Age UK pointed out that in a society where examples of ageism are not exactly hard to find, the Queen has been ‘a fantastic model of what it is like to grow older’.
Said Charity Director Caroline Abrahams, ‘Older people are often “othered”, but it was impossible to “other” The Queen as she was someone with whom we were so very familiar.
‘The fact that she kept doing the things she enjoyed, like spending time with her horses and dogs, and continued to work in the job to which she was profoundly committed until two days before she died, was wonderful.’
Newsweek pointed out that press photos showed Queen Elizabeth still at work in Balmoral Castle two days before her death. On the Tuesday she appointed Liz Truss as Prime Minister, following Boris Johnson’s resignation. The Queen died on the Thursday of that week.
While Queen Elizabeth presented a positive image of older people, the baton now passes to Charles, who the Guardian newspaper has described as ‘the oldest new monarch ever’. He has been waiting his whole life to take on this one job – at age 73.