Back in 1961, two of the world’s most famous (and favorite) couples ever met for the first time at Buckingham Palace: Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip and former US President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jackie Kennedy. But, royal fans want to know if Elizabeth and Jackie were friends. The answer? It’s sort of complicated…
Rewind nearly 60 years ago, and John and Jackie were on a trip across the pond to meet the British monarch and her husband. But, the glamorous evening, of course, didn’t happen without a little bit of drama, which is depicted in Season 2 of Netflix’s The Crown. The issue had to do with the guest list.
At official state dinners, divorcées were traditionally not invited, but since this gathering wasn’t “official,” Elizabeth was able to pull some strings. Essentially, Jackie’s sister, Lee Radziwill, and her husband, Stanislas Radziwill, really were not supposed to attend since he was Lee’s second husband and she was Stanislas’ third wife.
But don’t worry. Elizabeth “retaliated” as Jackie said in her biography America’s Queen by leaving out her sister, Princess Margaret, and Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, two people Jackie really wanted there. “The Queen had her revenge,” Jackie reportedly joked in the book. “No Margaret, no Marina, no one except every Commonwealth minister of agriculture they could find.”
Despite the guest list drama, John and Jackie still had a great time at the special gathering, said White House aide Angier Biddle Duke in a 1964 interview. “It was a delightful evening… I think everybody enjoyed it very much,” Duke said. “[It was] very pleasant, very charming, and very attractive!”
Elizabeth and JFK sadly never met again since his assassination was a short two years later. However, he wrote her a sweet thank you note after his visit to Buckingham Palace. “May I also at the same time say how grateful my wife and I are for the cordial hospitality offered to us by your Majesty and Prince Phillip during our visit to London last Monday,” the letter said. “We shall always cherish the memory of that delightful evening.” However, Jackie and Elizabeth were seen photographed together in 1965 at the dedication of JFK’s memorial at Runnymede in England (so supportive of one another, aren’t they?). It’s unclear if the two were really close friends on a personal level all those years, but honestly, we really hope they were!
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