Emma Morano from Vercelli, Italy, just celebrated her 117th birthday, making her the oldest living person in the world and also the last person alive who was born in the 1800s.
Emma was born in 1899, when Britain was still at war with the Boers in South Africa and World War One was still 15 years away. By the time television was invented, Emma was already 28.
And the secret to her long life? Emma claims it’s her diet. She’s eaten three eggs a day — two raw — and a couple of biscuits since she was diagnosed with anaemia over 90 years ago.
“I eat two eggs a day, and that’s it. And cookies. But I don’t eat much because I have no teeth!” she laughs.
Emma also credits her genes with her longevity, as her mother lived to 91 and she had two sisters who both reached 100 years old.
She also believes that kicking out her husband in 1938, a year after her baby son died, made her stronger.
Emma says her marriage was never healthy. She was in love with a boy killed during World War One and had no interest in remarrying, but she didn’t have a choice and, at 26, married a man she hated.
When it became too much, Emma threw her husband out but remained married until he died in 1978. Emma, who worked until she was 75, never got married again.
“I didn’t want to be dominated by anyone,” she said in an interview.
Although Emma hasn’t left her two-bed flat for over 20 years, she was surrounded by family and well-wishers yesterday when she celebrated her landmark birthday.
Happy 117th birthday, Emma — and here’s to many more.