Judi Dench, 85, makes history as oldest person to appear on Vogue cover

Judi Dench, pictured at the Chelsea Flower Show 2019, has become the oldest person to grace the cover of Vogue at the age of 85. (Getty Images)
Judi Dench, pictured at the Chelsea Flower Show 2019, has become the oldest person to grace the cover of Vogue at the age of 85. (Getty Images)

Dame Judi Dench has made history as the oldest person to appear on the cover of Vogue at the age of 85.

The British actor was photographed by Nick Knight for the June cover of the British edition of the publication, revealed on Instagram today.

“Before the coronavirus pandemic forced the world into lockdown, [journalist] Giles Hattersley visited [Dench’s] home in deepest Surrey to discuss everything from why retirement is completely out of the question, to how she has become a social media phenomenon – without being on social media herself,” the magazine captioned an image of the legendary actor’s cover.

Dench appears timeless in the photo, modelling a floral Dolce & Gabbana outfit with her famous, piercing blue eyes looking directly at the camera lens.

Her make-up is fresh and understated.

A second image, also shared on British Vogue’s Instagram account, shows the actor standing with her hands clasped, smiling at the camera.

Her outfit is just as chic as the first: a floral, satin Giorgio Armani jacket with a beaded trim over a block colour dress by luxury label La Collection.

Read more: Dame Judi Dench is championing sex for people in their 80s

This isn’t just a historic shoot for both Dench and the magazine - it marks her very first Vogue cover.

“[The shoot] meant an awful lot to her,” Dench’s daughter, Finty Williams told British Vogue. “This age thing, I think, affects very much how she feels about herself and this gave her just that little boost of confidence to make her go, ‘Oh, maybe I’m still OK.’

“Then of course after the photoshoot, she came back literally thinking she was Beyoncé.”

Dench discusses ageing in the accompanying interview, admitting there’s “nothing” to like about being 85.

“I don’t like [ageing] at all. “I don’t think about it. I don’t want to think about it. They say age is an attitude… it’s horrible.”

It’s clear Dench misses being entirely independent. She was forced to give up driving a few years ago during to her deteriorating vision and says “it’s the most terrible shock to your system. Ghastly. It’s terrible to be so dependent on people.”

Jane Fonda, then 81, previously held the record as the oldest British Vogue cover star. The American actor modelled for the April 2019 issue of the magazine.

Fonda’s issue was dubbed the “Non-Issue” as British Vogue hoped to dismiss age as being a barrier which holds women back in life.

Fonda also appeared on the Duchess of Sussex’s co-curated September 2019 issue, alongside a number of other women who Markle considered to represent ‘forces for change’.

Read more: Jane Fonda, 82, done with ‘plastic surgery’

Lauren Hutton was the oldest person to appear on the cover of an international Vogue magazine. The American model, now aged 76, was almost 74 when she modelled for the Italian version of the publication.

At the time, photographer Steven Klein commented on the importance of a cover being more than just a photograph.

“It needs to reflective of our times and challenge and inspire. A huge reason why I wanted to shoot the cover...was to be able to show a new take on how a woman over 70 could look,” said Klein.

“That is why I was so excited to shoot Lauren Hutton for the cover. She is [73] and still sexy. She also embraces her age. She has had no cosmetic work done to her face or body.”

Prior to Hutton, Tina Turner held the record. The singer appeared on the cover of the fashion magazine's German edition in 2013 at the age of 73 and 4 months.