WORDS FROM THE HEART

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‘ 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

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