As the Queen turns 90 tomorrow (April 21), the celebrations will have extra meaning for one Tunbridge Wells resident who has her own unique royal connections.
For Mary White the day marks one more achievement in her extraordinary life with the broadcasting on local radio of the autobiography she wrote two years ago at the age of 90.
Her book, Time to Love, will be read out in nine one-hour-long instalments, with the first timed to coincide with Her Majesty’s own birthday, and Mary is thrilled.
“I am very excited,” she said before adding that her celebration will be low key: “We will probably just listen to it on the internet and enjoy it.
“I sent the book to the Queen as she will be 90, and got a lovely letter back thanking me.”
Published last year, Time to Love has sold nearly 1,000 copies.
It chronicles a life which has been lived through war and poverty while raising a son with Asperger’s. There was also the tragic loss in 1991 of her husband Lionel, who himself came from Tunbridge Wells.
Born in Norfolk, Mary moved to Tunbridge Wells and later found love again while taking an art class at the adult education centre.
There she met her new husband, Norman White. She describes it as ‘the best moment’ of her life.
Although The Queen will be the focus of numerous and spectacular celebrations tomorrow, Mary fondly recalls her own 90th birthday.
“Norman and myself just went for a meal, but I did not feel like I was 90. I don’t even feel like I am 92, I just feel like me, the only difference being I cannot walk very fast or run to catch the bus.
“The last 16 years since I met Norman have been the happiest of my life and I am so lucky to have a soul mate. Every day is a good day.”
The instalments of her book will be broadcast from tomorrow (Thursday) on BBC Radio Norfolk.