As The Great British Bake Off Returns, People STILL Can’t Believe Prue Leith’s Age

The internet can't get over how old Prue Leith is... but does it really matter?

Prue Leith

by Rhiannon Evans |
Updated on

Yes, it's true. Apparently some people can make a living from baking and eating cakes and still look decades younger than they actually are because The Great British Bake Off judge, Prue Leith is 83.

And despite Prue never being anything less than open about this - and being part of British culinary culture for decades - this has come as a shock to social media.

Honestly, it happens every year The Great British Bake Off returns so you think people would know by now, but once again 'How old is Prue Leith?' is trending, and the internet has gone mad over what they've discovered.

The first time Prue's age was casually referred to in an episode of The Great British Bake Off came a few seasons back when the contestants were tasked with baking a Sussex Pond Pudding for the technical challenge - a 400-year-old desert that Prue commented was 'even older than I am.'

The internet's mind was blown by the reminder that Leith was, in fact, at the time 80 - much like viewers are when they realise that Noel Fielding is 50.

Now, three years later Prue, a British-South African restaurateur, chef, caterer, television presenter, businesswoman, journalist, cookery writer AND novelist, is 83 and people still can't get their heads around it.

And when is Prue Leith's birthday? Prue was born on 18 February 1940.

Speaking to Woman & Home about turning 80 back in February 2020, Prue said, 'It’s not going to depress me too much, but I don’t like the thought. The long and short of it is I’m having a lovely life and I’d like a bit more of it please.'

Reflecting on how old she is, she added, 'Everybody says age is just a number and, obviously, it’s true in a sense that you are only as old as you feel.

'But there is also an inevitability about it… every year that passes.'

Prue Leith, opening her restaurant in Holland Park, London, 9th October 1969
Prue Leith, opening her restaurant in Holland Park, London, 9th October 1969 ©Getty

In recent years, society has tried to move away from our prejudices and misconceptions around ageism, specifically when it comes to women.

But at what age does a person become, actually, remarkable and brilliant 'for their age' and it becomes something it's 'ok' to note? Never? Or are we diminishing the achievements of a person if we erase that they are actually bringing decades of work and knowledge to the table?

Especially when it comes to women - older men are often visual shorthand for 'expertise' still - should we not also be able to apply this to women like Prue, who opened her first restaurant in 1962 before opening her own cookery school just over a decade later?

Does the fact that people are saying 'I can't believe Prue Leith is 83' make it ok because they mean it as a compliment? Or is that just a further indication of the way we speak about people, women, who are 83 and what our expectations of them are?

More and more too, we've started to understand the narrative around the privilege of ageing, or still being around and healthy while millions haven't enjoyed the same fate.

So maybe, when we say 'age doesn't matter' or 'age is just a number' it feels like we are throwing the baby out with the bath water - ditching the great things age can bring (experience, knowledge, understanding) because we haven't figured out instead how to respect that people of different ages can bring different things to the table.

Prue Leith is 83, and at the top of her game, sat on a mountain of all the achievements she's worked hard for in her life. It's worth thinking about how we talk about that in a celebratory, not derogatory, matter. Perhaps while eating some cake.

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