Leading Article: 97 reasons to be cheerful

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The Independent has long kept a certain distance in reporting the trivia of royal life, whether it be the shooting skill of the heir to the throne, or the morals of one or another of Her Majesty's children or children-in-law. All these are, in the end, passing fancies, which, though they are of enormous significance in the lives of the people involved, make little or no difference to you, or to us.

But it is hard to let pass without any comment at all the arrival of The Queen Mother at the fine age of 97. Living to such an age as a cheerfully fulfilled human being - nay, merely compos mentis - is a wonderful achievement, to be celebrated regardless of social status. Yesterday died, in France, the oldest person in the world, aged past 120. The rest of us can only look on in envy, and admire the attainment of such a long and rich life.

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