Hazel is namesake of Trooping the Colour composition

Violet Hazel Rose Birkett shares the same birthday as the Queen.

Violet Hazel Rose Birkett shares the same birthday as the Queen. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

As well as their shared birthday, Hazel Birkett has a further connection to the Queen through another important event.

The 90-year-old's late husband Drum Major Tom Birkett composed music for Trooping the Colour, which marks the monarch's official birthday in June.

Among these military pieces is one named after his wife, Hazelmere, which is regularly played at the commemoration.

Her daughter-in-law Mary Birkett, 69, said she still loves to watch the Trooping the Colour because of her husband's part in it.

Mrs Birkett, a resident of Davers Court care home, in Bury St Edmunds, travelled around the country with her husband, who was a member of the Coldstream Guards who served with the Army and the RAF.


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For a while the couple, who had two sons, were the Queen's near neighbours as Mr Birkett was stationed at the nearby Wellington Barracks.

The couple, both originally from the north of England, also travelled during their retirement, living in Uxbridge, where Mr Birkett did much of his composing, and Dorset before settling in Wymondham.

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Mr Birkett died in 2000, followed by the death of their eldest son David, Mary's husband, in 2004. Mrs Birkett moved to Davers Court 15 months ago to be closer to Mary, who lives in Thetford.

Ten years ago, Mrs Birkett was lucky enough to share her 80th birthday celebrations with the Queen after being invited to dine at Buckingham Palace. While she didn't speak to the monarch herself, she was able to have a chat with Prince Philip.

She had bought a new suit for the occasion, but was told by a television camera crew filming at the lunch that she may have to change to match the room's colour scheme.

Mary, who attended the lunch with her mother-in-law, said: 'She just told them, 'I've bought a new suit for today, and I want to wear it'.' Luckily her suit's colour was deemed acceptable and she was allowed to wear it to lunch.

For her 90th birthday, the grandmother of two and great grandmother of four was treated to a special celebration by Davers Court. She will also be attending a celebratory concert by the Bridgham and Harling Band with her daughter-in-law in Thetford's Carnegie Rooms on Friday.

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