World’s oldest person celebrates 117th birthday and reveals secret to long life

Emma Morano was born in 1899

World’s oldest person celebrates 117th birthday and reveals secret to long life

When Emma Morano was born on 29th November 1899, in Piedmont, Italy, Queen Victoria was still Britain's reigning monarch and the automobile had only just been invented. 

Emma, who celebrated her 117th birthday at home in Verbania this week, is officially the world's oldest person and the only person still living to have been born in the 1800s. 

As she blew out the candles on her cake, she revealed her secrets to a very long life. 

She puts it down, in part, to genetics, as her mum lived to the age of 91 and several of her siblings (she was the oldest child of eight) made it to 100. But she also credits it to a diet that included three eggs - two of them raw - each day for over 90 years. 

She has recently cut down to just two eggs a day on the recommendation of her doctor Carlo Bava. He said of his patient's unusual diet: "Emma has always eaten very few vegetables, very little fruit. When I met her, she ate three eggs per day, two raw in the morning and then an omelette at noon, and chicken at dinner."

Emma added: “I eat two eggs a day, and that’s it. And cookies. But I do not eat much because I have no teeth."

Though she didn't say it herself, Emma's courage and determination have also played a part in helping her reach this great age. 

She was forced to marry a man she didn't like at the age of 26 (in 1925), after the boy she loved was killed in World War One. 

Her husband was violent and abusive - she eventually kicked him out in 1938, after she sadly lost her only son in infancy. 

Emma has remained single ever since, saying: "I didn’t want to be dominated by anyone." 

The former factory worker and cook retired at the age of 75 and hasn't left her two-bed flat in Verbania for 20 years - she now has a full-time carer and has been bedbound for the last year. 

On Tuesday, however, her flat was full of visitors, there to celebrate another landmark birthday. 

Emma's taking it all in her stride though. “My word, I’m as old as the hills!" she chuckled.