Baronness Boothroyd, Patron of TwinsUK, visits the Department

On Wednesday 24th October we were delighted to welcome the patron of TwinsUK, Baroness Betty Boothroyd, on a visit to the Department of Twin Research. Baroness Boothroyd is a British politician, who served as Member of Parliament and, from 1992 to 2000, as the first, and to date only, female Speaker of the House of Commons. In 1995 she was appointed the Order of Merit, an honour that is a personal gift from the Queen.

Baroness Boothroyd discussing the TwinsUK resource with Director Prof Tim Spector and Dr Debbie Hart, Executive Director


Profesor Spector first had the pleasure of meeting with the Baroness when they featured together in December on BBC Radio 4’s “Today Programme”. The programme was questioning the Baroness about how, as a woman in her 80’s, she continues to be “in fine fettle” – something that those who meet her often comment on. In order to get some answers she met with Professor Spector to discuss the genetics of ageing and underwent a ‘twin visit’ at the Department where she had a number of routine tests.

Impressed by our successful research into ageing and a whole range of health issues such as obesity, heart disease and osteoarthritis she agreed earlier in the year, much to our delight, to become a patron of TwinsUK, our twin registry.

On her visit to the Department she spent the morning meeting our senior investigators and members of staff, discussing our work and future ambitions. She also took this opportunity to walk round our new offices where she had the chance to see closely how the input of each member of staff contributes to our research.

We will shortly be posting a YouTube video of our interview with her, where she answers questions about which areas of research are closest to her heart, what she enjoyed most about her “twin visit”, the way her childhood influenced her and her top tips for healthy ageing.

We were all struck by her keen interest and vigour, and how enthusiastic she was to learn about our research advances and our media appearances. We look forward to many years of her patronage and to celebrating our 21st anniversary with her.

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