Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The proportion of women who are married has dropped below 50 per cent, while the “Prue Leith effect” has seen an increase in over 70s walking down the aisle. Over the past decade there has been a decline in the number of women getting married, with 49.5 per cent married in 2018 down from 50.8 per cent in 2008, new figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show. But bucking the nation’s declining marriage trend are those aged 70 and above, with the proportion of them who are married increasing from 50.3 per cent in 2008 to 55.8 per cent in 2018.In 2016, Great British Bake Off presenter Prue Leith married at the age of 76 after being widowed eight years earlier. “I am giddy with the joy of it,” she told the Daily Mail. “And why shouldn’t we oldies be happy, fall in love, feel that rush of unadulterated happiness again? There’s nothing in the world like it — and it’s the same at 70 as it was at 17. Same anxiety, same longing, feeling sick, excitement, same everything.” Living alone has also become less common for those older than 70, a trend which reflects the rise in the number of them who are married, the ONS said. The past decade has seen a decline in the number of women getting married, with 49.5 per cent married in 2018 down from 50.8 per cent in 2008Credit: fourseasons/Getty Images Contributor Edward Morgan, a senior research officer in the ONS’s Demographic Analysis Unit, said: “There are a number of reasons for the increase in the proportion of married people over 70 years old. This could be due to people marrying later in life than in the past, people living longer or more remarriages at older ages.“What we are also seeing in the UK is a rise in the mean age of first time marriage. A lot of people in past generations who would get married at quite young ages, say in their 20s, have been postponing it later and later in life.”The proportion of men who are married is also declining, with the numbers falling from 53.3 per cent to 51.5 per cent over the past decade. The number of women getting married first dropped below 50 per cent in 2011, at 49.7 per cent, and the lowest recording was 48.9 per cent in 2016.