Identical twins from different British Army regiments who are due to parade in Trooping the Colour have always regarded themselves as rivals, the pair have said.
Ben and Thomas Dell are both participating in the ceremonial spectacle – which marks the Queen’s official birthday – on Saturday, with Guardsman Thomas in the Grenadier Guards and Trooper Ben in the Household Cavalry.
It will be the first time Thomas troops his colour but Ben’s third time involved in the pomp and pageantry of the event.
“Everything is a competition between both of us,” Ben told the Press Association.
“At home, since we were very young all the way up to now, it’s always a competition of who’s the better one. It’s a lot of fun.”
The 21-year-old twins will be among more than 1,000 soldiers taking part in the parade, along with 400 musicians from the massed bands.
Recognised for their scarlet tunics and bearskin hats, the Grenadier Guards carry out an operational role as well as duties at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.
The mounted regiment of the Household Cavalry, with which Ben serves, provides ceremonial troops for all state occasions, including the opening of Parliament.
As a Grenadier Guard, Thomas was deployed to Iraq to work with the US coalition and returned to the UK just before Christmas.
Referring to the reaction from their parents, Ben said: “They’re proud of both of us for what we’ve done, him obviously going off to Iraq and being in the infantry, me doing this for the last couple of years, doing all of the ceremonial duties.
“They’re both proud of both of us and what we’ve done and achieved.
“This is only the start of the career, we’ve still got years left in the Army. A lot more time to be proud of us, I guess.”
Thomas continued: “They say there’s no difference between us, we’re both the same but they’re equally proud, so we’ve both achieved our own goals in our own respective fields.
“It’s something we’ve always wanted to do, I think he’ll agree, it’s what we both wanted to do, the Army.
“Maybe different paths in the Army we both wanted to take at different points but, overall, it’s always what we wanted to do and we’ve achieved what we want, so now it’s focusing on the careers.”
But the brothers, from near Bath, Somerset, once pursued the same path, as Ben revealed he also considered becoming a Grenadier Guard.
“I wanted to be a Grenadier but he (Thomas) said no,” he said.
“He said that it was his regiment and I had to find my own, so I found the Household Cavalry, which is a good choice for me. I like it here.”
Despite Ben finding his own unit, Thomas believes the Household Cavalry are on “his side” in the rivalry.
“So far, everyone seems to like him more than me, but I think that’s just because they work with me,” Ben said.
“I don’t know, they just like him more. He’s got a medal, so it’s better, I guess.”
This year the ceremony, which is staged every June in London’s historic Horse Guards Parade, will see Thomas’ Colour – of the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards – being trooped.
Attended by members of the royal family including the Queen, the parade brings together prestigious regiments and the families of the serving men and women.