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World’s oldest known twins turn 100 in Belgium

Belgian sisters Gabrielle Vaudremer and Marie Hendrix turned 100 years old on Saturday, celebrating with champagne, cake and a song from their family to claim the title of the world’s oldest known twins.

The pair received a shawl from the municipality and flowers from the Chateau Sous-Bois retirement home where they live as they marked their birthday with around 200 people, including 28 relatives, a retirement home manager said.

“They drank champagne and they ate cream cake,” regional manager Damien Berteau told AFP by telephone from the retirement home in Spa, eastern Belgium. “They were very happy.”

The family made a speech recounting the life of Gabrielle Vaudremer as a hat seller who was passionate about her craft and the “strict but fair” teacher Marie Hendrix, who uses her married name, Berteau said.

Relatives then broke into a folk song from the city of Liege, their hometown.

The Guinness World Records lists 98-year-old French sisters as the oldest twins in the world.

Records are only recognised by Guinness upon request, but the Belgian twins have not applied with the organisation to officially enter their record and they do not seem interested in doing so, Berteau said.

“They are humble people. They are not seeking excessive media exposure,” he said.

Earlier this week, the twins, who were born October 2, 1910, recounted their life in Liege after their family moved out of northwestern France in an interview with the newspaper L’Avenir.

“I always had a passion with hats,” Gabrielle told the newspaper. “When I was little, I would look at the ladies and think that I too wanted to wear such beautiful hats.”

The twins, who have no children, recalled that they spent their holidays in the town of Spa, where they ended up retiring.

“We often went out to pick blueberries, hazelnuts and mushrooms,” Marie said.