The World’s Most Exclusive Senior Citizen Club
There is a highly exclusive club of senior citizens that has existed since 1902 and only allows a maximum of 24 members of the most outstanding calibre at any given time. Previous members have included the world’s elite; Florence Nightingale, Edward Elgar, Lucian Freud, Mother Teresa, Laurence Olivier, Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill.
On Tuesday 14th May 2013, 19 of the present 22 members of the Order of Merit attended a private service at St James’s palace, before dining with the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
The Order of Merit, the most distinguished of all honours, carries no title of ‘Sir’ or ‘Dame’, merely the post nominal letters of ‘OM’ and the simple insignia of an enamelled cross, which is worn discreetly about the neck by its modest members. Recipients of the honour include scientists, artists, sculptors and authors to musicians, composers and politicians. The oldest member of the order is the Rev Professor Owen Chadwick, ecclesiastical historian and former rugby Blue (97), with most members also being in their 80s and 90s.
Including; the Duke of Edinburgh (91) and the military historian Sir Michael Howard (90). Sir Anthony Caro, the sculptor is 89, Sir David Attenborough, broadcaster and naturalist, is 87. Following the death of the late Baroness Margaret Thatcher, the only current female member of the order is Baroness Betty Boothroyd (83), the first and only female speaker of the House of Commons. And the youngest member of this elite gathering - well that honour goes to the inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, a mere sapling of 57.
All veritable giants in their fields of endeavour, they all share one common trait. Their appointment to the world’s most exclusive honour was the personal gift of Her Majesty the Queen. No political interference can be brought to bear and no amount of wealth can sway an appointment. The members are quite simply the cream of the current crop of humanity. Perhaps exemplified most fittingly, by the sole honorary member - Nelson Mandela OM.
We are pleased to announce that the Senior Siren was recently delighted to interview a member of the Order of Merit – Lord Martin Rees OM – The Astronomer Royal and renowned physicist, for a forthcoming Senior Spotlight article in the Senior Siren magazine.