Suffolk: King of Jordan’s Suffolk-bred grandfather dies at age of 95
SUFFOLK: A Suffolk soldier who went on to become the grandfather of the King of Jordan has died at the age of 95.
Lt Col Walter Gardiner – who was known as Tony – was brought up and married at Chelmondiston in 1938.
He was a Second World War hero, winning the Military Cross during the Italian campaign of 1943, but it was after the war that his family was catapulted to international attention.
In the late 1950s the Army posted him to Jordan and in 1960 his 19-year-old daughter Toni joined him to work as a secretary on the set of the film Lawrence of Arabia.
While there she met King Hussein of Jordan and they were married in 1961.
Lt Col Gardiner left the British Army and was asked to take over responsibility for Jordan’s water supplies by the government of that country.
He and his family continued to live in that country and was given the rank of major-general in the Jordanian armed forces. Although his daughter, who became Princess Muna, and King Hussein were divorced in 1971, they remained on very good terms and the family continued to live in the Jordanian capital of Amman.
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His eldest grandson became King Abdullah on the death of King Hussein in 1999. Lt Col Gardiner lived in the Royal House in Amman and remained active until his death.
His grandson cut short a state visit to return for his funeral and Jordan marked his death with a week’s official mourning last month.
Although the family did not return to live in Suffolk, they retained links with the county – Princess Muna’s aunt and uncle Bea and Fred Hart were stalwarts of Chelmondiston.
Mrs Hart was a member of the village WI for more than 70 years and Mr Hart worked as a printer for the Evening Star for many years.
n Do you have memories of Walter (Tony) Gardiner? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail email@example.com