Published: 00:00, 09 June 2015 |
Updated: 08:04, 09 June 2015
What started with a cheeky jive in the dance hall blossomed into a relationship most couples can only dream of.
Charlie and Jacqueline Prior, aged 91 and 90 respectively, became part of the elite few to receive a special card from the Queen on Thursday, congratulating them on reaching 70 years of marriage.
The platinum pair, of Mill Road, Hawley, Dartford, revealed their secret to sustaining a long and happy marriage, which is to “always talk to one another”.
Their love story started at a dance hall where the two met each other by chance.
“We met when I was 15 when we both went to a dance, ever since then we have been together,” said Jacqueline, who used to work in the kitchen at North West Kent College.
Charlie, a retired foundry worker, continued: “I went to the dance with some friends from my apprenticeship and that was when I saw Jacqueline.
“They had a little band playing there. I remember she was with her friends and somehow we started dancing together.
“After that day, I remember I used to catch the 280 bus to see her all the time. We used to go on lots of walks together and occasionally go to the pictures.”
The story of their proposal is not the most extravagant, but no less romantic than any other.
“I had been sent to Canada to do some training for much of the year,” said Charlie.
“When I knew the time was right, I just got on the phone to her and said ‘let’s get married!’”
When Charlie returned, the pair picked out a ring, which set them back £7.10.
The childhood sweethearts were dragged apart by the outbreak of war.
Charlie served as an air gunner and bomb aimer with RAF Bomber Command while Jacqueline was an aircraft plotter in the Royal Artillery.
Their relationship was almost cut short when Charlie came close to falling out of an aircraft through the bomb bay. Thankfully, he just missed the hatch.
The wartime lovebirds got married in a Catholic church in Greenhithe on May 28, 1945 – just weeks after VE Day.
Leaving the church, they headed to the YMCA in Dartford for their reception, celebrated with around 30 of their friends and family.
Looking back on that day, Charlie said: “I couldn’t quite believe what was happening. It all happened in such a rush.
“It was wonderful to think that the war was all over at last and we could spend our lives together in peace.”
Just over a year later, their first child, Michael, was born.
This would mark the beginnings of many new family members, including daughter Wendy, five grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.
Speaking about family life, Jacqueline said: “I enjoyed it – although Michael could be a bit of a handful!”
A keen sportsman, Charlie has dabbled in a variety of sports throughout his life and with some success.
As a teenager he was signed for Tottenham Hotspur Junior Football Club and has run the London Marathon eight times between the ages of 68 and 73. During his retirement, he also took up golf.
The couple celebrated their special day at home as family members came round to wish them well.
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