Grantham Journal Memory Lane: ‘My great uncle, the King’s right hand man’

Laura's great uncle Ken Wilson, right, escorts King Edward VIII around RAF Wittering in 1936.

Laura's great uncle Ken Wilson, right, escorts King Edward VIII around RAF Wittering in 1936.

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Student Laura Bolshaw, on work experience at the Journal, has an interesting story to tell regarding her great uncle.

As equerry to King Edward VIII, Ken Wilson, my great uncle, was more than familiar with this royal’s day to day life.

Originally from Newark, Ken met his wife Celia in Grantham, and the couple enjoyed spending time with their family, as June Tabiner, my grandma, and Ken’s niece, from our market town remembers: “Ken was strict but kind. He was the sort of uncle who, if you didn’t eat every scrap of your dinner, wouldn’t allow you any pudding.”

However, as my great uncle’s job was in the air force, this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Ken is pictured here on the right in 1936. He is at the No.11 Flying Training School for the Royal Air force in Wittering, and is escorting the King, centre, around the base.

The Tabiner family have more than one link to the nobility, as my grandma and my departed grandad John both worked at Belton House, and have fond memories with Lord Brownlow and his family.

John, a much loved Granthamian, worked at the house initially under the Brownlows. After leaving, and trying his hand at other jobs, he returned to the estate, where he would spend the final chapter of his working career.

Being King Edward VIII’s Lord in Waiting, Lord Brownlow often housed the monarch and his future wife, Wallis Simpson, before he abdicated for her in 1936. Therefore, often escorted by Ken, and comfortably accommodated by Lord Brownlow, I think we can honestly say that the King was in safe hands.