British Empire Medal Investiture (BEM) was a thrilling day for Daphne and her family (pictured above with her two daughters Claire & Rose). Receiving the BEM at Hertford County Hall from the Lord Lieutenant. What a pleasure to have Daphne honoured in this way and to meet the other recipients on such a special occasion. Full of pomp and ceremony yet filled with warmth and friendliness. It was humbling to meet fellow recipients and Public Servants on duty. The 10 new BEM holders covering such a wide range of service to their communities.  



Daphne’s BEM British Empire Medal citation reads:


Services to Women and Fashion 


Modelling since 1949 – Aged 84 entered Guinness book of records “Oldest working professional fashion model”

Daphne first started modelling in 1949. Her career has spanned over 60 decades of professional work. 

Daphne tirelessly supports new talent emerging within the industry voluntarily.



Daphne has put the mature woman on the map with her example as a fit, stylish, hardworking, high profile fashion model of 87 (now in her 90s). As a quintessentially British woman proud of her traditional values and standards she inspires people of all ages to view themselves positively as they age. Awarded the status of fashion `supermodel` by the industry and media Daphne encourages women to live life to the full in health, work, and style. She continues to challenge and change the accepted views of ageing. She demonstrates the practice of a positive and curious mind, healthy diet, and hard work as the ingredients needed to live a long and fruitful life. She actively promotes well being and professionalism, advocating personal responsibility for happiness and health to both young and old. Daphne has changed the way we see older women and given both old and young women hope and inspiration to value their strengths and individuality. 


Daphne with Deputy Lieutenant (in her handmade dress), High Sheriff (in her own designed & made uniform) & Claire 


Daphne has led the way for industry agents and designers worldwide to hire older models. 

In the last two decades, her influence has educated both men and women to view ageing women positively as both a professional asset and financial investment.

She has set an example to women to view themselves as a vital, worthy, visible and an employable part of our increasingly older world community. 

Daphne has shown that beauty can be achieved naturally without the need for cosmetic procedures and radical diets, and that exercise and sensible eating are beneficial at any age.


As a young woman, Daphne modelled for the St Ives group of artists including Barbara Hepworth and Sir William Coldstream. These works are now in the Barbara Hepworth Collection and the Tate Gallery. She also sat for Royal photographers Marcus and Gilbert Adams. Daphne has sat for sculptor John Mills and numerous emerging and established artists.

After raising children and embracing widowhood Daphne`s career was rejuvenated when she was hired by Europe`s leading model agency Models 1. Based in London Models 1 approached her after she appeared as a catwalk model for Red or Dead at London fashion week at the age of 69. This was the first time a major British fashion house had featured an older model, and Daphne has worked consistently since. Daphne has worked for many of the leading fashion houses, appearing in many of the world`s most popular fashion, beauty and health magazines.

And more…

She has given regular interviews for many TV and radio programmes, such as Lorraine, Good Morning, and Steve Wright in the Afternoon, Daphne has also appeared in commercials and major fashion campaigns for Dolce and Gabbana, Red or Dead, TK Maxx, & Other Stories. Daphne regularly appears in British mainstream press, for example, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Daily Mail.

Daphne has appeared as herself in several music videos, most notably those of Will Young and Sir Paul McCartney. She also featured in an episode of Absolutely Fabulous playing herself.

She has been photographed by top fashion photographers Mario Testino, Rankin, Alistair Guy, Mary McCartney and Nick Knight.

Daphne has lectured widely on her life as a model with Women of the World and walked and assessed for Degree students at The London College of Fashion. Daphne has sat many times on various panels as a fashion consultant, notably at the V&A and The Conde Nast College.

BEM recipients Steven Frank – services to Holocaust education and Anthony Charles for services  to the community of Datchworth

What makes the nominee, Daphne and her contribution stand out?

There are a handful of other older female models today, but most have been hired because of Daphne`s influence, and few have had such a varied and long professional life. What makes Daphne`s contribution stand out is the large body of work she has accumulated over her lifetime and the fact that she was the first older model to model clothes formally targeted at a younger audience. 

She has brought her professionalism and experience to the fashion, art and entertainment industry and worked hard to promote the work of artists, photographers and designers. Daphne takes every job offered to her by her agent, and at 87 actively supports charity events, students, and up and coming designers, photographers and writers regularly working without payment.


In a world where beauty procedures and enhancements are routine, Daphne is a rare example of natural beauty, healthy living and traditional values 


The BEM British Empire Medal is awarded in recognition of the dedication and hard work provided


Did Daphne Get To Meet The Queen?


The BEM is presented at County level and not at Buckingham Palace. In Daphne’s case, this was at Hertford County Hall as she lives in the county of Hertfordshire, north of London. Along with nine other BEM recipients it was presented by the Lord Lieutenant, Robert Voss CBE who is the Queens Representative. He was accompanied by the High Sheriff, many of the Deputy Lieutenants and Military Cadets.

Daphne has a second event with an invitation to The Queen’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in May. Perfect, not just one event to dress up for but two! The Queen is keen to meet as many new recipients as she can so Daphne is very much looking forward to meeting her then.


Read more about the British Empire Medal in the Daphne News: New Years Honours List


Daphne with daughters Claire & Rose all wore hats. The High Sheriff wore a hat with a white feather.  We notice that hats aren’t worn very much these days. Would you wear a hat for a special occasion?  Do let Daphne know in the comments below as she’d love to hear.


Did you see my last Daphne News: Old Fashioned? If not you can catch it HERE

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