University Boat Race is special for St Albans Diamond Wedding couple

THE OXFORD and Cambridge boat race has always held special significance for diamond wedding couple, John and Monica King.

So it was particularly apt that they celebrated 60 years of marriage on the day of the 2011 race because on their wedding day on Easter Monday 1951, the boat race had to be re-run after one of boats had sunk on the previous Saturday.

Mr King is a graduate of Cambridge and has always supported the pale blues but against the odds, Oxford won this year’s race.

The couple celebrated their special day in a private room in Sopwell Ward at St Albans City Hospital with their four children, Tom, Sue, Jane and Nick. They also have 13 grandchildren and had even more cause for celebration last week – their first great grandchild was born.

Mr King, 85, and his 87-year-old wife originally met in Berlin at the end of World War II where he was working as an aide de camp to the General in charge of the British Mission where his future wife was also helping.

Mrs King had gone to Berlin from Bletchley Park where she was on the codebreaking team who were credited with doing so much to end the war.

And while she found the shift work dull and had little idea what the operation was about except that it was very important and secret, she had a lot of fun with the people she worked with.

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The couple married in Sevenoaks where Mrs King’s family lived and Mr King took up a place at Trinity Hall Cambridge to read history. He subsequently worked at a merchant bank before going into teaching as a graduate entrant in the early 1960s.

It was upon his retirement from teaching in Coulsdon, Surrey, in 1987 that the couple moved to St Albans where they have lived ever since.

Mr King was first admitted to SACH last summer and was able to return home to College Street, only to be readmitted at the end of January. But hospital staff pushed out the boat to make sure the couple’s day was extra special.

Their daughter Jane Giles praised the hospital staff as “brilliant” as the family enjoyed salmon sandwiches, cake and champagne while watching the boat race. They were joined by Nick’s dog Julius, a black labradoodle.

Jane added: “My siblings and I would all agree that they are the perfect parents. They have shared a happy marriage and since retirement they have kept very busy and been very involved in the church.”