Originally published on JRR Tolkien Examiner.
Tolkien first met Bratt eight years earlier, when they lived in the same boarding house. Because Bratt was not Catholic, Tolkien was forbidden to see her by his guardian, Father Francis Morgan — a decree that Tolkien largely, if begrudgingly, obeyed.
On his 21st birthday (January 3rd, 1913), Tolkien wrote to Bratt declaring his love. She broke off an engagement to another man; and Tolkien and Bratt became engaged that month. Bratt converted to Catholicism for the wedding.
Three months after the wedding, Tolkien left for France, to serve in the Great War.
The couple had four children: John Francis Reuel (1917 – 2003), Michael Hilary Reuel (1920 – 1984), Christopher John Reuel (1924 – ) and Priscilla Mary Anne Reuel (1929 – ). They were married for 55 years, until Edith’s death in 1971.
Tolkien stated many times that Edith Tolkien was the inspiration for the character Lúthien Tinúviel (“more fair than mortal tongue can tell”). The name Lúthien is engraved next to Edith’s on their tombstone.Beren and Lúthien, Edith Mary Tolkien, Francis Xavier Morgan, JRR Tolkien, Lúthien Tinúviel