WORDS FROM THE HEART
‘ The market for letters, journals and diaries is constant and very strong,’ says Justin Croft, antiquarian books specialist. ‘ It’s to do with the sense of the unique – the item doesn’t exist anywhere else and it casts new light on things we thought we knew.’ In this light, the discovery at Glyn Cywarch of a cache of letters sent between Sir David Ormsby Gore, Ambassador to the US in the Kennedy era, and his dear friends Jackie and JFK prompted huge excitement at Bonhams. Since Ormsby Gore’s death in 1985, the letters, plus photos and an invitation to JFK’s funeral had been locked away in two Foreign Office despatch boxes that had to be sawn open. Of most interest were 19 letters from
Jackie, charting her days as First Lady, JFK’s assassination in 1963, up to her marriage to Aristotle Onassis in 1968. Ormsby Gore’s wife Sissie was killed in a car crash in 1967 and the letters he sent Jackie afterwards (he took copies) prove what has long been speculated; that he was deeply in love with her.
Charlie Thomas explains: ‘After Sissie’s death, he completely fell for Jackie and, after spending an increasing amount of time together, in February 1968 proposed. Jackie’s tenderly written final letter, sent from Onassis’s yacht, Christina, set out to explain why she’d married him instead.’
Says Justin Croft: ‘ It’s rare to discover a significant landmark in the lives of such important people and is testament to British reserve and secrecy.’ The Kennedy- Harlech letters sold to a private bidder for £100,000.
Jackie Kennedy and David Ormsby Gore photographed in 1966