After a couple of years, their life attracted the interest of the outside world.
Her family won a lengthy battle for a second inquest after the High Court quashed a 1995 open verdict, saying the original hearing lasting less than an hour had been inadequate.
Mr Beards told Woking Coroner’s Court he had met Pte James around 11.10pm the evening before she died in November 1995, and she told him Sgt Andrew Gavaghan had ordered her to go into a room with Pte Ian Atkinson - known as Aki - to have sex.
Their families lived two miles (3 km) from each other. Over the years they formulated a plan for a private rural retreat.
It was their dream to live an unconventional life together.
Putting their plan into motion, they undertook a picturesque tour of the Welsh countryside, eventually settling in North Wales.
Living first in a rented home in the village of Llangollen, they moved in 1780 to a small cottage just outside the village they called Plas Newydd or "new mansion".They devoted their time to hosting a range of friends and curious visitors, extensive correspondence, private studies of literature and languages, and improving their estate.Over the years they added a circular stone dairy and created a sumptuous garden. Llangollen people simply referred to them as "the ladies".Butler's Hill, near Plas Newydd, is named in honour of Eleanor Butler.Pte James, of Llangollen in Denbighshire, was the second of four young trainees found shot dead on guard duty amid allegations of bullying, violence and abuse at the Surrey Royal Logistic Corps barracks between 19.It wasn't as if she wanted to be there." Mr Beards, who was a good friend of Pte Atkinson before the incident, said she would not let him.