Ed Sheeran's "Nancy Mulligan" Is A Family History

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Workplace romances can be a hit or a miss. Worst case scenario, if it doesn't pan out you're basically doomed for an awkward run-in with your ex. On the other hand, if things work out, your eternal love could inspire your Grammy award-winning grandson's music. Ever since Ed Sheeran released his album Divide, the song "Nancy Mulligan" sent hearts racing once it was revealed that the tune was about his grandparents. Although their forbidden love was immortalized in a romantic song, Sheeran's grandparents actually had a much more low-key meet-up at work.

Back in 1951, a young dentist named Bill Sheeran married a lovely nurse named Anne Mulligan. The Irish couple met at Guy's Hospital in Central London according to Bill's obituary published in the GKT Gazette. In "Nancy Mulligan," Sheeran sings from Bill's perspective that he had never seen "such beauty before" until he met Anne "at Guy's in the second World War."

However, Sheeran explained to Zane Lowe on Beats 1 radio that his grandparents' different religious backgrounds almost tore them apart. He said,

“One was Protestant and from Belfast and one was Catholic from southern Ireland. They got engaged and no one turned up to the wedding. He melted all his gold teeth in his dental surgery and melted them down into a wedding ring. They wore borrowed clothes to get married and had this sort of Romeo and Juliet romance, which is like the most romantic thing."

After listening to the romantic homage for the first time, Sheeran's beloved 92-year-old grandmother Anne told Irish media outlet RTE News, "Oh, it's fine as long as I'm not there while he's playing it."

The Sheerans went on to have eight children, 23 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren and settled into Anne's childhood farmhouse in North Wexford, Ireland in 1983, according to his obit. But had it not been for that chance encounter at work, the Sheeran's talented grandson never would have blessed us with his melodic tunes.