Childhood friends marry 45 years after they were 'forced' to sit together in school

Two childhood friends who "fancied each other" at school but never dated have finally married after spending 45 years apart.

Andrew and Karen Wilson, both now 59, were first introduced when they were "practically forced" together in school in 1971.

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The couple was originally "disappointed" when they were told to sit next to each other in class — because they "were the two stragglers" — at Riversmead School, in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, England.

After a year, the pair grew close, becoming friends, but "nothing happened" and they went their separate ways after finishing school in 1976.

But now, over four decades later Karen and Andrew have tied the knot after they reconnected with each other over Facebook.

"So it took a while, 45 years, before I finally got the courage to ask Karen out on a date, but I finally got my girl," Andrew said.

"I quite fancied Karen at school but was way to shy to say anything," he added.

After a year in school together, the pair grew close, but "nothing happened" and they went their separate ways after finishing school in 1976.

After a year in school together, the pair grew close, but "nothing happened" and they went their separate ways after finishing school in 1976.

Karen, meanwhile, said she didn't even know Andrew liked her.

"I always thought he was so well put together but little did I know he actually liked me and was making an effort with me," Karen said. "In second term, Andrew decided he liked me and I didn't mind spending another term with him. But because we were so young, you don't think about love at that age, you just want to be with your friends.

"And now I am so happy. It's just a dream come true. I can't believe something like this has happened to me."

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After losing touch years ago, Andrew moved to Texas, where he married and had two children, and Karen continued to live in Cheshunt, where she also was married and had two children.

However, they both divorced, and were living their single lives until they reconnected on Facebook in January 2017.

The pair said they would often chat "for hours" until Andrew "picked up the courage" and asked Karen on a date on February 28.

However, to Karen's surprise, Andrew arrived a day early to meet the woman who would soon become his wife.

"We hadn't met each other for 41 years and we just fell into each other's arms. I moved him in my house the first day he arrived here because we had already made a relationship over video call. We had so much chemistry," said Karen.

"We had arranged to meet for dinner on the 28th. But Andrew, in the meantime, was in contact with a friend of mine in California and she conspired for him to turn up a day early to surprise me.

Andrew surprised Karen when they finally met back up. "It couldn't have gone any better," Karen said.

Andrew surprised Karen when they finally met back up. "It couldn't have gone any better," Karen said.

"He got his sister to join the conspiracy and he said, 'Would you meet my sister on the Monday lunchtime, the day before we meet, because she's not in town when I'm in town and she [would] like to meet you?' So I turned at up at Marriott thinking I'm meeting his sister and this bouquet of lilies came towards me. It was Andrew.

"It couldn't have gone any better. I think if I had actually met him the day we were supposed to meet, I would have been a nervous wreck. But because it was the day before, I got surprised."

Andrew proposed to Karen in June 2018 in Paris. They married on June 22, and are now on their honeymoon in Italy.

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"I just want to say to all the women out there because careful what you wish for, because wishes do come true," Karen said.

"If you are 30, 40 or 50 and haven't found the right man yet, don't worry. You have to give it time."