The Queen’s former pilot and the first captain to fly Concorde from London to New York has been found dead alongside his wife in a suspected murder-suicide.
Tony Meadows, 84, and his wife Paula, 83, were found dead at their £800,000 home in leafy Bucklebury, Berkshire – less than three miles from the £5m home of the Duchess of Cambridge’s parents.
Residents told MailOnline Mr Meadows was ‘fit as a flea’ and ‘devoted’ to his wife of 60 years, who had dementia.
They say Mrs Meadows depended on her husband, who acted as her carer.
The couple’s former daughter-in-law Katherine Meadows confirmed the news this morning, telling MailOnline it was a ‘very difficult time for the family’.
Mr Meadows was part of the flight crew on the first London to New York Concorde flight for British Airways in December 1977 and was then at the controls of the inaugural Concorde flight to Singapore, two weeks later.
He also also a pilot for Princess Diana, and flew the Queen on Concorde in 1979.
Retired Concorde pilot Tony Meadows (pictured) and his wife Paula were found dead at their home in Bucklebury, Berkshire yesterday evening
Mr Meadows started as a mathematician, before signing up for National Service in the Royal Air Force and going on to work as a Concorde Pilot. He is pictured here with the Concorde Alpha at Heathrow Airport
Forensics officers are pictured at the scene today after Concorde pilot Tony Meadows was found dead alongside his wife Paula in what police suspect was a murder-suicide
Mr Meadows is pictured here in January 1976 aged 41 as he and his family got set to compete in the World Orienteering Championships. He and members of his family took part in the games held at the skiing resort of Aviemore in the Scottish highlands. The competition saw tams of five men and five women from 23 countries compete in the event which tested of intelligence, humour, navigation and fitness
Officers are pictured today at Hawkridge Farm, where they are investigating the deaths of Tony Meadows and his wife, Paula
Pictured: An aerial shot of the scene in Bucklebury today following the deaths of Tony and Paula Meadows
The couple’s former daughter-in-law Katherine Meadows confirmed the news this morning, telling MailOnline it was a ‘very difficult time for the family’. Pictured, police at the scene today
The couple were found at their property, pictured, in the same leafy Berkshire village where Kate Middleton’s parents Carole and Michael live
Detectives say they are treating the incident as murder but not looking for anyone else.
Forensic teams remain at the scene of the couple’s £800,000 home today.
A long time friend of the couple told MailOnline: ‘I heard the news this morning from a member of the family, who you can imagine are absolutely devastated.
‘Tony was devoted to Paula, they’d been married for such a long time, probably more than 60-years.
‘She had dementia which had gotten steadily worse the older she got. Tony would often take her for a walk around the country lanes on a sunny day.
‘I’d stop and chat if I saw them but although I’d known her for years, recently Paula didn’t seem to recognise me.
‘Tony was as fit as a flea and so he really helped his wife, she depended on him. They were a lovely couple.’
Other locals in the village of Frilsham near Bucklebury in West Berkshire said they sometimes chatted to Mr Meadows at the Pot Kiln pub.
One said: ‘He was a really warm, friendly bloke. We’ll miss him and his wife. This is such a quiet peaceful area and for something as tragic as this to happen, it’s shaken a lot of people.’
The Duchess of Cambridge’s parents live less than three miles away in Bucklebury Manor, a £5million Grade II-listed pile with vast grounds.
Mr Meadows started as a mathematician, before signing up for National Service in the Royal Air Force and going on to work as a Concorde Pilot.
Police at the sprawling farmhouse today where former Concorde pilot Captain Meadows lived
The British flight crew for the inaugural Concorde service pose with the statue of aviators John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown, who made the very first Atlantic crossing by aeroplane in 1919. From left to right: Captain Tony Meadows; Captain Brian Walpole; Captain Leo Budd; Senior Engineering Officer George Floyd
Captain Meadows is pictured here in May 1988 with Norman Parkinson with the ‘first sausages served on Concorde’
Forensic officers remain at the scene this afternoon, but detectives have confirmed they are not looking for anyone else
The scene, in Bucklebury, Berkshire, where Thames Valley Police have launched a murder investigation
A long time friend of the couple told MailOnline: ‘I heard the news this morning from a member of the family, who you can imagine are absolutely devastated’
In an interview in 1982, he said the fastest speed he experienced in the Concorde was ‘more or less 1.450 miles per hour, or 23 miles every minute.’
In December 2017, Mr Meadows recalled the thrill at being part of the flight crew on the first scheduled LHR-JFK Concorde service for British Airways.
Mr Meadows was then invited to ‘fire the ‘Eastern Bullet’ to Singapore.
Captain Meadows, left, featured in advertisements for Concorde, including this one in 1988 for the new range of in-flight meals
Detectives say they are treating the incident in Berkshire as murder but not looking for anyone else
Police were called to the home in Bucklebury, Berkshire, after a call from a member of the public
Police remain at the scene today as they carry out a murder investigation
Speaking in 2017, he said: ‘Life for me was very exciting in 1977. David Leney flew myself and my crew to Bahrain on the 7th of December – two weeks after I had flown the New York inaugural – to be ready to operate the inaugural flight to Singapore on the 9th in GBOAD.’
He was part of the Nucleus Group of pilots and flight engineers who were trained by BAC at Filton and by the Concorde test pilots. He then took part in the Endurance Flying program to the Far East and Australia.
Prior to Concorde’s entry into service, Mr Meadows’ responsibility was to develop subsonic noise abatement techniques for the take off and climb phases; and a training program for the crews to implement them.
A spokesman for British Airways told MailOnline: ‘Our thoughts are with their family and friends.’
Forensic teams remain at the scene of the couple’s £800,000 home today
‘Our first bite of the Big Apple’: The Concorde Captain who became part of the flight crew on historic first Concorde London-New York service for British Airways
Captain Tony Meadows was on the first scheduled LHR-JFK Concorde service for British Airways
In December 2017, Captain Tony Meadows recalled the thrill at being part of the flight crew on the first scheduled LHR-JFK Concorde service for British Airways.
‘This was enormously important commercially; BA Deputy Chairman Ross Stainton said: ‘Concorde is expected to earn more revenue for British Airways in the next four months than in the whole of the previous financial year.’
‘It was also extremely significant to me, because I was responsible for Concorde Noise Abatement, and noise was the crux of this matter.
‘The three test flights were all successful – we were ready.
‘Brian Walpole was in command for the outbound flight, with myself as co-pilot, George Floyd Senior Flight Engineer, and Captain Leo Budd to look after VIPs and any contingencies.
‘Conscious of the importance of the flight, the photographer suggested a picture in front of the Alcock and Brown memorial at Heathrow.
‘The mood was very upbeat; before we left we received a telex from BAC Deputy Chief Test Pilot Jock Cochrane: ‘Trust your inaugural will be received like the three wise monkeys. Our thoughts and best wishes for all success in the New York service.’
‘Meanwhile, our plane full of VIPs dined on bone china and fine wines at twice the speed of sound.
‘The welcoming crowds were enormous. Amidst the euphoria, we departed to the Waldorf Astoria for a press conference and a lunch hosted by New York Business.
‘At the top of the menu card it said: ‘The Concorde today brings New York closer than ever before to the rest of the world. The business men and women of New York take pride in honouring those whose vision and foresight have helped to make this possible.’
‘Then in the evening we were invited by Ross Stainton and Pierre Giraudet, his opposite number in Air France, to a reception at the Pierre Hotel on 5th Avenue. A good first day!
‘The next day it was my turn. To leave the Big Apple and take Concorde G-BOAA back home; to fly the procedures that my colleagues and I had worked out to make our take-off noise acceptable.
‘All went according to plan. We were well within the noise limits and achieved results comparable to subsonic jets on the day. The rest of the flight went without incident. All the work had been worthwhile; we had successfully taken our first bite at the Big Apple.’
The pair were found at their property in leafy Berkshire, the village Kate Middleton’s parents where Carole and Michael Middleton (pictured) live
The couple were found at their home in a remote lane following a call from a member of the public
Thames Valley Police said detectives launched an investigation following the deaths in West Berkshire.
Officers were called to the property around 7.35pm yesterday where they found the couple. Their next of kin have been informed.
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Howard, of Thames Valley Police’s Major Crime Unit, said: ‘This is a tragic incident in which two people have died.
‘We are currently investigating and have launched a murder enquiry but we are not looking for anybody else in connection with this incident. There is no danger to the public so people locally should not have any undue cause for concern.
‘We are aware that Bucklebury is a small community and this will have an impact on its residents, as such people will see an increased police presence.’