Bury St Edmunds: Former MP Sir Eldon Griffiths marries for the third time aged 88

Sir Eldon Griffiths with new wife Susan Donnell at the Athenaeum in Bury St Edmunds.

Sir Eldon Griffiths with new wife Susan Donnell at the Athenaeum in Bury St Edmunds. - Credit: Archant

Former MP Sir Eldon Griffiths has become one of the oldest bridegrooms in the country at the age of 88.

But Sir Eldon, who yesterday married long-standing friend Susan Donnell, now Lady Griffiths, said: “People are as old as they feel and I don’t feel old.

“I always remember the famous remark: old age is always 15 years older than what you are.”

Family, friends and dignitaries joined the happy couple, who have known each other for more than 50 years, for a wedding reception at the Athenaeum in Bury St Edmunds following a civil ceremony at the register office.

It is the third time former Bury St Edmunds MP Sir Eldon has been married, and comes three years after the death of his second wife, Lady Betty Griffiths.

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His bride – godmother to leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, John Griffiths, who is his son from his first marriage – is a direct descendent of legendary native American Pocahontas and has written a best-selling book of the same name.

Sir Eldon said: “Our paths converged because we have known one another a very long time – since Susan was 25 – and when I was a widower and Susan was also a widow we became closer.”

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Lady Griffiths, who did not wish to reveal her age, said they were having breakfast in New York one day when he said “I’m going to get married” and she replied “to whom”.

Mr Griffiths said: “I’m delighted. It’s not every day you have the opportunity to be best man to your father marrying your godmother, but I’m absolutely thrilled for them and wish them every happiness.

“I’m also delighted they are having the first part of their wedding ceremonies in Bury St Edmunds and followed by ones in London and California.”

Those who were there to congratulate the newly-weds at the Athenaeum included Stephen Bett, police and crime commissioner for Norfolk and a family member of Sir Eldon’s, Lord Norman Tebbit, a former cabinet minister, and the ambassador for Bulgaria.

Professor Virginia Greiman, a good friend of Lady Griffiths’ from the States, said as well as being an author, the bride had served in high-level positions in the World Affairs Council and had been involved in efforts to foster world peace.

Professor Greiman, of Harvard Law School, said Lady Griffiths, who spends six months of the year in England and six months in the US, cared deeply about “bringing together these two great countries”.

Sir Eldon, who was a journalist in America and London before becoming an MP, said he and his wife would spend their honeymoon in Italy.

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