At the double – Identical twins celebrate their birthday guarding the colours for queens official birthday
A set of identical twins are set to have pride of place to mark the Queen’s official birthday.
But the parade will be doubly special for guardsmen Mark and Jack Bazeley, from Northampton, who turn 21 just days before.
The boys, who joined the Coldstream Guards in January 2015, are set to make history as the first identical twins to guard the senior sergeant with the colour during the parade before they are handed over to an ensign.
And the pair look so similar that the boys say their mum Julie is the only one who can truly tell them apart.
The pair turned 21 today (WEDS) – but instead of celebrating,the boys were instead in Surrey methodically going through their important roles on Saturday where they will be in front of the Queen and millions of people watching on television at home.
It will take both Jack and Mark around four hours to make sure that their uniform is up to scratch for the ceremony, which will have to be complete the night before their 6am wakeup call on Saturday morning.
Mum Julie will be watching from the stands on Saturday afternoon, and has been bursting with pride that her sons have been trusted with the task of guarding the colours before they fall in with the Escort to the Colour.
Fittingly, the boys signed up to the Coldstream Guards at the same time and although Julie was initially quite worried about her boys, they explained that she could not be happier with their decision.
Mark said: “Both of us had always been interested in joining the Coldstream Guards and when I went to the recruitment centre back in Northampton, it was actually a guy from the guards that I spoke to.
“He persuaded me to join and when I told Jack that I was joining up, he said: ‘Well if you’re doing it, so am I’. We joined up in January 2015.
“When we told our mum that we were going into the army, she was initially quite worried about it, but then there isn’t a mother in the UK that wouldn’t feel that way. Since she’s seen us go through training and how far we’ve come, she couldn’t be prouder of us both.
“On the day, our role will be to guard the senior sergeant with the colour before they are presented to the Escort for the Colour. Once they are passed over to the Ensign, we will then fall in with around 70 other guardsmen that make up the Escort to the Colour.
“We will be either side of the sergeant with the colour – if it were to come under attack, it is our role to defend it.”
Jack said: “Everyone takes a while to understand which of us is which, as we are identical.
“While we were at school, Mark thought it would be funny to lob snowballs at the teachers on a snowy day. When they thought he was up to no good, he blamed it on me and I got in trouble for it.
“But our mum can tell us apart without even having to think.
“We have always been close, the bond of twins is unlike any other relationship you will encounter – it’s so unique.”
In the lead up to the Queen’s official birthday the lads will repeatedly drill their role to make sure that the parade goes without a hitch, but they won’t be concerned about putting a foot wrong.
Mark said: “Over the next couple of days, we’ll be down in Surrey finishing up the preparations for the ceremony, making sure that everything is correct for the day.
“We’ve gone through the parade time and time again, checking that we have it all right.
“It will take around four hours for us to make sure our uniform is all correct before the day, but it will be done the night before, as it’s not something you do on the morning you parade in front of the Queen.
“Normally, it’s two soldiers that accompany the sergeant, but the Coldstream Guards is a family regiment and it was great that they had two identical twins guarding the colour, especially in such a landmark year – it gives the whole ceremony that little extra panache.
“Mum was so proud when she found out we had been chosen for the role – we won’t spend our birthday with her, but will have leave after the ceremonies and will see all the family for our birthday then.
“The Coldstream Guards is the best regiment and we’re honoured to be guarding the colour. Showcasing what we do best is the highlight of our career to date.”.
Julie said: “I was speechless when I got the call from the boys that they were going to be playing such a big role in the ceremony.
“It is such a huge achievement for them, what they are doing. I am so proud of all my sons, but for them to be doing this is just brilliant.
“There aren’t many people who can say that they guarded the colour.”
How to prepare a Coldstream Guards’ uniform for parade:
Bearskin: shampooed and conditioned, before being blow dried and brushed.
Curb chain: Brasso entirely.
Tunic: press and then brush free from dust before lint rolling.
White buff belt: scrubbed down, cleaned and then whitened with Blanco, including bayonet frog.
Brasses: all need to be polished with Brasso.
Tweeds: press and lint roll and brush free of dust and marks, before making sure they are hanging at the right height with their braces.
Boots: highly bulled. This involves melting bee’s wax onto them before brushing them for 15-20 layers before applying polish with a finger for another 15-20 layers. The boots are then polished with Selvyt cloth before bulling with water and cotton wool.