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Memories of the King

PUBLISHED: 01:11 14 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:21 03 March 2010

PAUL Miles, chairman of Suffolk Gardens Trust, today recalled his memories of the link between Felixstowe and King Edward VIII.

In 1936 the King announced that he wanted to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson but their plans were opposed by the establishment.

PAUL Miles, chairman of Suffolk Gardens Trust, today recalled his memories of the link between Felixstowe and King Edward VIII.

In 1936 the King announced that he wanted to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson but their plans were opposed by the establishment.

Mrs Simpson stayed in Beach House, Felixstowe, while she waited for her divorce at Ipswich Crown Court. The King, who had not been crowned, chose to abdicate and commended his brother, the Duke of York, to succeed him as George VI before Edward married Mrs Simpson in France on June 7, 1937.

In the 1960's Mr Miles came to Woodbridge to work with Notcutts Nurseries to learn about the history and design of gardens, and in 1968 he was awarded the Bowles Memorial Travel Scholarship by the Royal Horticultural Society.

Mr Miles met the Duke and Duchess went he visited the Moulin de la Tuileries, Gif-sur-Yvette, near Paris where they were living.

He was sent a telegram asking him to have lunch with the couple.

Mr Page had designed the garden where the Duke of Windsor, an experienced gardener, laboured for hours.

Mr Miles, then aged 26, said he felt extremely privileged to spend several hours in the couple's company. They had drinks in a converted barn where drums doubled up as coffee tables, lunched in the garden in some splendour and Mr Miles toured the gardens before tea was taken.

"I was very, very shy when I was in my mid 20's. The couple were very nice and they allowed me to take pictures of the gardens and then we had tea. The Duchess was drinking a Highball, an American cocktail, while the Duke had tea. He had a glass of whisky beside him to dip his pipe cleaner into,'' recalled Mr Miles.

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