Edith first met Tolkien early in 1908, when he and his younger brother Hilary moved into 37 Duchess Road by their guardian, Fr. Francis Xavier Morgan of the Birmingham Oratory. At the time, Tolkien was 16 years old and Edith was 19. According to Humphrey Carpenter,
“Edith and Ronald took to frequenting Birmingham teashops, especially one which had a balcony overlooking the pavement. There they would sit and throw sugarlumps into the hats of passers-by, moving to the next table when the sugar bowl was empty. …With two people of their personalities and in their position, romance was bound to flourish. Both were orphans in need of affection, and they found that they could give it to each other. During the summer of 1909, they decided that they were in love.”
However, before the end of the year the relationship had become known to Tolkien’s guardian, Fr. Francis Xavier Morgan of the Birmingham Oratory. Viewing Edith as a distraction from Tolkien’s schoolwork and bothered by her Anglican religion, he forbade any contact between them until Tolkien became a legal adult at twenty-one.
Tolkien grudgingly obeyed this instruction to the letter while Father Morgan’s guardianship lasted. However, on the evening of his twenty-first birthday, Tolkien wrote a letter to Edith, who had since moved to Cheltenham. It contained a declaration of his love and asked her to marry him. She replied saying that she was already engaged but subtly implied that she had become so out of a belief that Tolkien had forgotten her. Within a week, Tolkien had journeyed to Cheltenham where Edith met him at the railway station. That day, Edith returned her ring and announced her engagement to Tolkien instead.
^ they don’t call him lord of the rings for nothing
^ in more serious news omg this such a cute story and I ship them