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Tuesday, 5 October 2010

World's oldest living twins aren't French but Belgian - or are they?

A couple of weeks ago the French media was paying tribute to Raymonde Saumade and Lucienne Grare as the pair celebrated their 98th birthday and entered the "Guinness World Records" 2011 edition as the oldest living twins.

It was a story that caught the imagination of many broadcasters and news outlets around the world and one which definitely appeared to have legs.

The TV cameras showed up, journalists seemed to fall over themselves to discover the secret of the sisters' longevity, which they revealed included the odd tipple by drinking "whisky or pastis, and mixing in a bit of exercise".

The pair certainly seemed to make a fine couple as they basked in their new-found notoriety.

Except it transpires that Raymonde and Lucienne aren't the world's oldest living twins, even if they will officially appear as such in the next edition of the "Guinness World Record".

According to Belgian media, there are a couple of sisters living in the French-speaking part of the country, Wallonia, who last weekend celebrated their 100th birthdays.

Screenshot from Belgian television, Gabrielle Vaudremer and Marie Hendrix - the world's oldest living twins?

And naturally the country's television cameras were on hand to film Gabrielle Vaudremer and Marie Hendrix as proof that the world's media and the "Guinness World Record" book had got it wrong.

The oldest living twins are Belgian.

Or are they?

You see Gabrielle and Marie, although definitely two years older than Raymonde and Lucienne (they have the birth certificates to prove it) hadn't taken the necessary steps to make their claim official.

A "formal application" has to be made for a record to be entered into the publication and although Craig Glenday, its editor-in-chief, has "invited all twins who able to prove they're over the age of 98 to submit an approved request" for the moment it's the younger French sisters who are officially the oldest living twins - if that makes sense.

Just for the record there is apparently another pair of French twins, Paulette Olivier et Simone Thiot, who are eight months older than the "record holders" but they're happy allowing Raymonde and Lucienne to grab the limelight by preferring their peace and tranquility and refusing to talk to the media.

And to complicate matters even more, the Belgian twins (Gabrielle and Marie in case you've lost track) were actually born near the northern French town of Beauvais before moving to Belgium as children.

So are the world's oldest living twins French or Belgian?

Or perhaps neither as the French website Le Post points out that according to the "Shanghai Guinness World Records" book, sisters Qiao Junior and Qiao Senior turned 105 last year.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Welsh twins Lily Millward and Ena Pugh are currently 100 years, 9 months old.

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