A wedding bouquet. Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images
On Royce and Frankie King’s wedding day, there wasn’t any time for a fancy gown or formal photographs — it was Sept. 16, 1944, and Royce was on a two-day leave from the Air Force, preparing to fly overseas to fight in World War II.
The high school sweethearts had been engaged for 20 months, and after being separated for nearly two years — he was stationed in Illinois and she was at university in Iowa — they were ready to get married, even if it meant they had to go the simple route. This September, to mark the couple’s 77th wedding anniversary, the staff at St. Croix Hospice decided it was time they had a do-over, and planned a ceremony that involved a vintage wedding dress and a dedicated photographer.
Over the last year, Royce, 98, and Frankie, 97, have been under the care of the hospice staff. They’ve grown close, and the Kings’ daughter, Sue Bilodeau, told The Washington Post that when her mother mentioned she didn’t have time to plan a big wedding, “the St. Croix staff members worked together to make sure they could get their special day.”
The event was held in the Kings’ backyard in Olwein, Iowa. Frankie carried a bouquet and donned a vintage wedding dress from the 1940s, while Royce, who beamed when he saw his wife in her gown, wore his Air Force uniform. The Kings’ music therapist played the saxophone and guitar, while another staffer snapped pictures. Bilodeau told the Post that the celebration was “definitely one of the most special things ever,” and together, her parents “demonstrate that a great love takes kindness and perseverance.”
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