Welsh widow who shares the Queen's birthday 'shocked' by invitation to event


A Welsh widow who shares her birthday with the Queen has spoken of her "shock" at being chosen to take part in the national service celebrating the monarch's life.

Hilda Price is one of six individuals given the honour of leading prayers, specially written to mark the Queen's 90 years, at the St Paul's Cathedral event this Friday.

Mrs Price, 90, who lives in Cardiff, said "It was the shock of my life" when she was told she had been picked to take part in the service.

She added laughing: "I had no idea, it was such a shock, I hope I do all right, I'm worried, but I used to read in the churches so I've had plenty of practice."

The widow was born on the same day as the Queen and in the same year - April 21, 1926 -  but the two women have lived very different lives.

Mrs Price was born in a house in the Welsh town of Carmarthen, while the Queen in a townhouse in London's Mayfair, and grew up to become the wife of the Reverend Ken Price who served in a series of parishes in the Welsh valleys and surrounding areas.

The 90-year-old has been a stalwart of the Mothers' Union for about 60 years serving on numerous committees, and she also joined other community organisations and raised thousands for a South Wales cancer charity.

She worked as a part-time teacher while raising a son and daughter and now has six grand children and three great-grandchildren.

But the service on Friday will not be the first time she has been in the presence of the Queen, she said: "I've been to events at the palace and my mother was mayor of Carmarthen and she met the Queen."

Mrs Price has sent a birthday card to the Queen every year and on April 20 1989 she met the Queen during a royal visit to Swansea, after the monarch became curious by a card she held which said "I am 63 tomorrow too" and walked over to meet her.

The 90-year-old was also one of almost 100 pensioners invited to Buckingham Palace for lunch with the Queen to celebrate them all turning 80 in 2006.

The St Paul's Cathedral service will be attended by senior members of the Royal Family including the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. Politicians past and present, diplomats and governors general will also be in the congregation.

Prime Minister David Cameron will read from the New Testament and the Archbishop of Canterbury will preach the sermon.

The service will also feature Sir David Attenborough and Paddington Bear creator Michael Bond, who, like the Queen, both turned 90 earlier this year.

The popular natural history broadcaster will read a reflection on the passing of the years written by the famous children's author who created the Paddington Bear series of books.

Mrs Price will be joined by five other people also reading prayers, each of the five representing an aspect of the Queen's life from the law to the Armed Forces, the Commonwealth, her Royal Household and her love of horses.

Clare Balding, who has an association with the Queen as three generations of her family have trained horses for the monarch, will represent the equine world.