The Second World War prevented Royce and Frankie King from having the wedding of their dreams. Nearly 80 years later, they were given the opportunity to have the special day they always wanted, complete with wedding photos that’ll allow the veteran and his wife to remember the occasion for the rest of their lives, thanks to the thoughtfulness and generosity of St. Croix Hospice.
Royce and Frankie King married in 1944
On September 16, 1944, Royce and Frankie King married. The two met had while they were in high school and became engaged after a couple of years. Royce took a two-day leave to come home and wed his true love, before being deployed overseas with the US Army Air Forces.
With such short notice, Frankie had no time to plan for a proper wedding. Instead of wearing a wedding gown, she wore a white dress she already owned. Royce wore his service uniform. In fact, the wedding was so rushed that they couldn’t even arrange for a photographer to capture their special day.
On the couple’s 77th anniversary, the staff of St. Croix Hospice, who care for the World War II veteran and his wife at their home, asked to see their wedding photos. When Royce, now 98, and Frankie, 97, explained why they couldn’t provide any, the staff took it upon themselves to remedy the situation.
Their 77th anniversary marked something special
Staff members transformed the backyard of the Kings’ home into the perfect space for a wedding celebration. They used flowers from the garden to make Frankie’s bouquet, and sourced a vintage 1940s wedding gown for her to wear down the aisle. Royce pulled out his old uniform to wear for the big day.
What’s a wedding without the traditional cutting of the cake? The staff at St. Croix Hospice were kind enough to bake a cake for the Kings to cut. It featured a pair of sevens on top, to mark their 77th anniversary, making the event extra special. However, the proverbial icing on the cake was when the WWII veteran and his wife posed for their long-awaited wedding photos.
The war veteran and his wife receive the wedding photos they never had
In addition to setting up the space for the couple’s wedding, the staff at St. Croix Hospice pitched in their own talents to make the day even more magical. A musical therapist played 1940s songs on his saxophone and guitar throughout the event, while Hilary Michelsen, a staff member and professional photographer, captured the wedding photos the WWII veteran and his wife were unable to pose for when they married back in 1944.
Royce and Frankie King’s daughter, Sue, recalled her father’s reaction when the time came to begin the ceremony:
“They escorted my dad outside, sat him down and we put a little handkerchief around his eyes. We walked Mom down the back steps and across the yard, and then she stood in front of dad, and I was able to take off his handkerchief. I said, ‘Are you ready to see your bride?’ He had just the biggest smile the rest of the day. It was amazing.”
The Kings loved the opportunity to get ‘married’ again
It was a very special day for the Royce and Frankie King, and they were thrilled about the opportunity to “remarry,” as Sue later told Fox News. “They were just beaming at each other the whole time,” she said. “It’s wonderful for them to finally have wedding photos, after all this time. Dad was very proud to put on his uniform for mom and mom loved being pampered.”
St. Croix Hospice CEO Heath Bartness spoke with TODAY about the wedding. “How can you not have a sense of overwhelming emotion? The connectivity you almost feel that you were a part of this, and thinking back to what it was like in World War II the first time, and how meaningful and how emotional this second opportunity to do this was,” he said. “There’s an overwhelming sense of pride in not just the company and what the organization did, but more so just as an act of humanity.”
“We can’t thank them enough,” said Sue. “It was wonderful and long overdue. I just got done printing up a photo album, so it will be in the mail and now they will finally have their wedding photos.”
A special thank you to St. Croix Hospice for granting War History Online permission to use the photos taken by Hilary Michelsen – and congratulations to the happy couple!