New research finds that the Royal Family outlive the general population by 26 per cent

New report by Bayes Business School and the International Longevity Centre compares the dynasty led by Queen Elizabeth II with that of the general population and Kennedy family in America.

New research by Bayes Business School has found that the Royal Family lives longer than the general public.

Just two months ahead of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s 70th year as monarch, A Tale of Two Dynasties report explores the impact the dynasty of the Royal Family has had on its, and other generations’, longevity.

The research, carried out in partnership with the International Longevity Centre (ILC) finds that the Royal Family outlive the general population by 26 per cent – for every 100-year-old royal the average person could expect to live to an age of 74 years.

However, this gap has been closing over the past years in line with general improvements to life expectancy, which is now stands at just over 81 years in the UK.

The Queen, 95, is the third Windsor to surpass their 95th birthday - Prince Philip (99) and the Queen Mother (101) are the others while the Queen’s maternal grandparents died in their late 80s.

Only 0.15 per cent of the UK population are older than the Queen (approximately 100,000 people) and for around 85 per cent of the UK population she’s the only Head of State they have ever known. Around six million people alive today should have memories of the coronation, whether as direct spectators or having seen it broadcast live on television or in cinemas.

Report author Professor Les Mayhew believes that the period of world history the Queen has lived through, as well as influenced, is unlikely to be repeated by future monarchs.

While the Royal Family live longer than the general public, which acts as the research’s benchmark, the opposite can be said of the Kennedys, often dubbed as equivalent US royalty.

It finds that they have had a lower-than-average lifespan in comparison to the general public – despite the comparable longevity of the clan matriarch, Rose Kennedy, who died aged 104.

Professor Mayhew puts this down to factors including the impact of the so-called ‘Kennedy Curse’ which it describes a series of unrelated deaths and tragedies over a 75-year period including the assassination of former US president John F. Kennedy, in 1963.

Other factors that have shaped each family include the weight of the constitutional position of a monarch in comparison to a politically powerful dynasty, their sources of wealth, the Kennedy family’s devout Catholicism, and marked differences in the raising of their children.

Professor Mayhew said: “While the Royal Family and the Kennedys are effectively polar opposites, both have been hugely influential for more than a century.

“These two dynasties, originally established by males, have been dominated by females who lived for much longer than any male before them. It is incredible that only 0.15 per cent of the British population are older than the Queen, whose reign has spanned over an extraordinary period of history and change.

“While we see that members of the Royal Family have significantly outlived the general population over the past decades, it seems to be about more than power and privilege, when we compare them to the similarly termed dynasty of the Kennedys.

“The length of both dynasties matters. That both Her Majesty The Queen and Rose Kennedy lived for so long is hugely significant in the influence they had and are continuing to have on their respective societies.”

‘The longevity of the royal family - A tale of two dynasties’ by Professor Les Mayhew, Professor of Statistics at Bayes Business School and Head of Global Research at ILC, can be read in full on the ILC website.


Notes to Editors

  1. There is no complete data for the US until 1930. In the absence of better data, the research uses the same, and well aligned, life tables, for the general populace in England and Wales, to compare both the Kennedys and the Windsors.

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