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Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother (1900-2002)

Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon was one of the oldest people in Britain to receive a hip replacement. She received two, at the ages 95 and 98 respectively. At the time there was criticism that the Queen Mother had received a hip replacement when the same surgery for other elderly women was considered too risky.

Surgery performed on members of the royal family can serve several purposes. The public’s interest in the their medical care is often harnessed as a way to explain a procedure to a wider audience - when the Queen Mother had her hip replaced, the surgical procedure was explained in the newspapers. Even the brand of the Queen Mother's hip replacement was made public - it was a Furlong hip designed by British surgeon Ronald Furlong and manufactured in Sheffield in the UK. Discussions of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis made some older women go and have checkups. A journalist in the Glasgow Herald reported in 1995 that the Queen Mother's hip operation was beneficial not only to her but also to the public, in particularly older woman: ‘Other aged biddies, hitherto nervous and ill-informed, can only gain.’ In the same decade, Princess Diana’s (1961-97) reported use of the anti-depressant drug Prozac made the public more aware of the ways that the drug worked and de-stigmatised it for many women.

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Bibliography

H Vickers, Elizabeth, The Queen Mother (London: Hamish Hamilton, 2006)

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Depression

A mental state associated with acute sadness. Activity can be decreased, especially interaction with others, and sleep, appetite, and concentration can also be disturbed.