04 April 2017

Never seen before Jackie Kennedy letters sold at auction

The recently discovered letters between the beautiful Jackie Kennedy and a besotted British lord desperate to marry her, have been sold at auction for £98,808 ($123,000).
Yes I know that does seem a ridiculous amount of money for some paper with words written in ink on, but she was and still is a prevalent icon. Particularly her amazing wardrobe.
They were sold at Bonhams auction in London last week (29th March) to an anonymous individual private collector.
The handwritten letters had been kept hidden away in two official red Government despatch boxes for more than 40 years, at the Harlech's family estate at Glyn Cywarch in Gwynedd, Wales. Bonhams UK Deputy Chairman Harvey Cammel, explained that the keys for the boxes were nowhere to be seen and in the end they decided to call a locksmith. I'm guessing using a hair pin Nancy Drew style wouldn't work then.
He explained that when they opened the case, which probably hasn't been opened in 30 years. "It was one of those astonishing moments when you can't quite believe what you're seeing." and it was "a real, true discovery." Now that is a great day at the office.
There were handwritten letters not just from Jackie, but by JFK and other members of the family as well. The letters are part of a 19-strong collection which also included a note from Prince Philip's uncle Lord Mountbatten and correspondences between US Presidents and past British Prime Ministers.
The collection includes Jackie Kennedy's rejection letter to David Ormsby-Gore - the 5th Baron Harlech and one of JFK's most intimate confidantes - after he asked her to marry him because she saw him 'like a brother'.
For decades gossip magazines and writers have speculated how close Jackie Kennedy and David Ormsby-Gore were. Rumours of romance between the pair swept through Washington in the late 1960s, with one leading US newspaper proclaiming him 'The Man Most Likely To Win Jackie'. These letters give us a great insight into their relationship, how close they came to marriage and why Jackie decided not to marry him.

David Ormsby-Gore was a diplomat and held a number of government ministerial positions in the Foreign Office. He resigned in 1961, so he could take up the post of British Ambassador to the United States until 1965. The friendship between the families actually dates back to the 1930s, when JFK's father Joseph was US Ambassador to Britain and the collection of letters demonstrates the closeness between the families.

The letters show the story of a relationship that builds between Lord Harlech and Jackie Kennedy over a period of three to four years until 1968.

A deep friendship was formed through grief after the president's assassination in 1963. They then grew even closer when David's wife Sissy died in May 1967. The letters really reveal their deep and growing connection amidst the pain of losing their spouses and Jackie was very sympathetic to David's grief and the tragedy he went through.

After his wife died Jackie wrote him a letter to try and offer him some comfort. She wrote: 'Your last letter was such a cri de coeur of loneliness - I would do anything to take that anguish from you. You want to patch the wounds & match the loose pairs - but you can't because your life won't turn out that way.'

He reportedly proposed a 'secret marriage' in 1968, but she turned him down. She then wrote him a rejection letter while she was on Aristotle Onassis's yacht (who she ended up marrying) explaining why she had chosen not to marry him.

In her letter she wrote: 'You and I have shared so many lives and deaths and hopes and pain - we will share them forever and be forever bound together by them.
'If ever I can find some healing and some comfort, it has to be with someone who is not a part of all my world of past and pain - I can find that now - if the world will let us.'
'We have known so much & shared & lost so much together - Even if it isn't the way you wish now - I hope that bond of love and pain will never be cut. 'You are like my beloved beloved brother - and mentor - and the only original spirit I know - as you were to Jack. 'I just wanted to tell you all that love has so many different way.'
Jackie later said her husband (JFK) used to claim that David 'was the brightest man he'd ever met'. If she married him she would have had to move her children and life to the UK. However, when she married Aristotle Onassis she could keep her family in New York. A year after Jackie married her new husband, Lord Harlech married Pamela Colin, a US journalist who had an uncanny resemblance to Jackie.

David died in 1985 from injuries sustained in a car crash. Senator Edward Kennedy, Jackie Onassis and other Kennedy family members attended his funeral. In 1995 when Jackie was dying of cancer in her New York apartment, she reportedly spoke of her regret that she did not accept Lord Harlech's proposal.

The discovery of these letters is poignant since it coincides with the year of the 100th anniversary of JFK's birth. The amount of money the letters went for, shows there is still extreme interest in the Kennedy family and you can't beat a love story, especially one that contains handwritten love letters.
If you want to find out more information about the Bonhams auction and other aspects of it, including the political letters you can do so here.
Here are just a few programmes you all need to know about:
Need to watch: There is a programme on tomorrow (Wednesday 5th April) on Channel 4 at 9pm about Marilyn Monroe: Auction of a Lifetime which tells her life story through some of her most personal and glamorous possessions. You will be able to catch up with this on 4 On Demand, so don't worry if you miss it.
Need to catch up on: On Sunday night a two part documentary called Spying on the Royals started on Channel 4 at 8pm. It revealed new evidence that brings to light one of Britain's most controversial espionage operations, when spies tailed the royal family and tapped their phone calls. It includes information about Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson ,one of the most shocking controversies the royal family have ever dealt with. You can catch up on Episode one here.
I hope you've enjoyed learning a little more about Jackie Kemnedy and have hopefully seen a little more of the person behind the iconic suits and pillbox hats.
Second Hand Rose