Diana and Jackie: Maidens, Mothers, Myths

Diana and Jackie: Maidens, Mothers, Myths

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by Jay Mulvaney

History has seen only a few women so magical, so evanescent, that they captured the spirit and imagination of their times. Diana, Princess of Wales and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis were two of these rare creatures. They were the most famous women of the twentieth century--admired, respected, even adored at times; rebuked, mocked and reviled at others. Separated by

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History has seen only a few women so magical, so evanescent, that they captured the spirit and imagination of their times. Diana, Princess of Wales and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis were two of these rare creatures. They were the most famous women of the twentieth century--admired, respected, even adored at times; rebuked, mocked and reviled at others. Separated by nationality and a generation apart, they led two surprisingly similar lives.

Both were the daughters of acrimonious divorce. Both wed men twelve years their senior, men who needed "trophy brides" to advance their careers. Both married into powerful and domineering families, who tried, unsuccessfully, to tame their willful independence. Both inherited power through marriage and both rebelled within their official roles, forever crushing the archetype. And both revolutionized dynasties.

And yet in many ways they were completely different: Jackie lived her life with an English "stiff upper lip"--never complaining, never explaining in the face of immense public curiosity. Diana lived her life with an American "quivering lower lip"--with televised tell-alls, exposing her family drama to a world eager for every detail.

These two lives have been well documented but never before compared. And never before examined in the context of their times. Jay Mulvaney, author of Kennedy Weddings and Jackie: The Clothes of Camelot, probes the lives of these two twentieth century icons and discovers:

-The nature of their personalities forged from the cradle by their relationships with their fathers, Black Jack Bouvier and Johnny Spencer
-Their early years, and their early relationships with men.
-Their marriages, and the truth behind the lies, the betrayals and the arrangements.
-Their greatest achievements: motherhood.
-Their prickly relationships with their august mothers-in-law, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy and Queen Elizabeth II
-Their lives as single women, working mothers.Their roles as icons and archetypes.

Graced with never before seen photographs from many private collections, and painstakingly researched, Diana and Jackie presents these two remarkable and unique women as they have never been seen before.

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Editorial Reviews

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis and Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales: Two famous women, radically different, yet surprisingly similar. Both were daughters of acrimoniously divorced parents. Both married older men who wanted trophy wives to advance their careers. Both married into ambitious, domineering families who tried to domesticate their free spirits. Both rebelled within their prescribed official roles, each forever shattering the archetype. Yet these two feminine icons had dissimilar personalities and upbringings, and each ultimately faced different challenges. Jay Mulvaney, the author of Kennedy Weddings, has crafted a book that is less a dual biography than a double illumination, a new way of thinking about two remarkable women.

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Diana and Jackie

Maidens, Mothers, Myths

By Jay Mulvaney

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2003 Jay Mulvaney
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-7842-2

  Diana & Jackie
Chapter OneGilded Daughters of PrivilegeI’ve known two great decades in my life, the twenties and the sixties, and I’m always comparing them … . In those two decades you got something so sharp, so new.—Diana Vreeland, DV
 Both Diana and Jackie were born on the cusp of great social change. They entered worlds that seemed secure and prosperous, but very early on in their lives, seismic shifts radically altered the tenor of those worlds. July babies, Diana a Cancer and Jackie a Leo, they were very much daughters of their place and time. Jackie was born three months before the October 1929 stock market crash that heralded the Great Depression; that event would rock the foundations of her family life, leading to her father’s financial decline and ultimately to the divorce of her parents.The England of Diana’s birth in 1961 was to alter dramatically in the ensuing decade, a social revolution set on Carnaby Street with a soundtrack by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. The relaxation of social standards would result in a devastating scandal that tore Diana’s family apart.Born into the highest levels of society, Diana and Jackie grew up in a rarefied world of privilege and insulation that is one of the advantages of great wealth. But the old adage “Money doesn’t buy happiness,” often doled out like a bitter-tasting medicine, certainly rings true in the tale of these two golden daughters of privilege.New York. 1929Seven-forty Park Avenue is the type of building that comes to mind when people talk about “a Park Avenue apartment.” With its gleaming limestone facade and Art Deco detailing, it’s the kind of building that Hollywood movies and smart novels set in the 1930s and 1940s would use to glorify the American essence of luxury, comfort, and success. It’s easy, for example, to imagine the snooty Vassar society girl from Mary McCarthy’s The Group living at 740, or to hear an Irving Berlin song and picture Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing through the gray marble lobby, or to suppose that apartment 12B, a fourteen-room duplex, was home to Carole Lombard and her madcap family in the screwball comedy movie My Man Godfrey.But the little girl who lived in 12B at 740 Park Avenue was no fictional heroine. She went to Vassar, but she wasn’t a society snob. She never appeared in a Hollywood movie, but she would become the greatest star in the world (Variety, the show-business bible, once hailed her as the “world’s top B.O. [box office] femme”). Her life’s narrative is unique in the annals of American history, but no one knew what life had in store for her; at the time of her birth, Jacqueline Lee Bouvier was the daughter of the uniquely American trilogy of success, ingenuity, and reinvention.Her first husband, when asked at a press conference during his 1960 presidential campaign whether the most beautiful women came from his state, Massachusetts, or from Texas, the home of his running mate, laughed and replied, “Well, my wife comes from New York, so …,” and crinkled his eyes in glee as the room erupted in laughter.Jackie was a daughter of New York, born in Southampton, then a quiet resort town for the rich and socially prominent; raised in New York City until she was thirteen; and returning to spend the last thirty years of her life a few blocks away from her girlhood home. Seven-forty sits atop a low rising knoll on the northwest corner of Park Avenue and East Seventy-first Street, commanding, like some preening dowager in her box at the Metropolitan Opera, a spectacular view up and down the broad boulevard. The address is proudly carved in the dove gray marble that surrounds the entranceway, whose columns are decorated with stylized flowers in carved bas-relief. The building’s limestone facade, rising eighteen stories from the ground, is decorous in comparison with the entrance, relieved from starkness by subtle fluted pilasters and restrained ornamental decorations around the upper floors. It is a supremely elegant building and yet possesses, thanks to its Art Deco detailing, an undeniably insouciant charm.Jackie’s parents, Janet Norton Lee and John Vernou “Black Jack” Bouvier III, possessed much the same sort of charm; they were the darlings of their age, characters out of an F. Scott Fitzgerald story. She was an accomplished horsewoman, he a dashing rake with a wandering eye for fillies of the two-legged variety. They had been married in July 1928, slightly more than a year before the birth of their elder daughter. Their wedding, with more than five hundred guests in attendance, was gushingly reported in the society pages. Janet was “a stately bride bedecked in satin, lace and silver,” and her bridesmaids called to mind “green and gold jonquils nodding in the sunshine.”The marriage, while on a personal level tumultuous and ultimately a failure, was on a certain plane a successful pairing. Jack and Janet represented two immigrant families, both Catholic, both of whom had fulfilled the promise of their adopted homeland and become successful, wealthy, and, to different degrees, socially prominent and influential members of their community.In the baby Jacqueline, born on July 28, 1929, and christened with a feminized French version of her father’s name, the coupling of the two disparate sides of the immigrants’ dream became complete. The more settled Bouviers, whose family came from France to the United States in the early days of the republic, had made their fortune and acquired social prominence. The Irish Lees, more rough-and-tumble recent arrivals whose money was still new, were, in the parlance of the times, marrying “up,” a great American tradition and one in which the a themselves were well practiced.The Bouvier Chapel, tucked away in a corner of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, is a memorial to the founding member of the American Bouvier family. Dedicated to Saint Michael and Saint Louis, the two warrior saints (one celestial, the other terrestrial), the chapel was a gift of Michel C. Bouvier, given in memory of his parents, Louise Vernou and Michel Bouvier. The chapel was designed by Charles T. Matthews and built by Tiffany and Co., and its design was influenced by thirteenth-century French Gothic architecture; its decorations include marble fleur-de-lis, the lilies of France. Its position, next to the Lady Chapel behind the main altar, and its exquisite jewelbox design easily signify the prominence of the Bouvier family in the social life of New York City in post—Civil War society. The family’s American story had started in Philadelphia in the early 1800s, moved to Nutley, New Jersey (later home to another renowned tastemaker, Martha Stewart), and, through marriage and hard work, had culminated with acceptance in the original ranks of the Four Hundred—Mrs. Astor’s list that separated the haves from the have-nots. The Bouviers were definitely among the haves. That their status was embellished with the 1940 publication of a private family genealogy, Our Forebears, which presented the family as descendants of French nobility, was a source of bemusement for the adult Jacqueline Kennedy. The truth was quite different, and the family’s origins more humble, but this little exercise in reinvention, an American pastime, was widely accepted as fact during the most important part of the Bouviers’ impact on the national scene, the early 1960s.Black Jack was a charmer, a dashing and handsome man. The son of a millionaire, he possessed a devil-may-care attitude that conventional men found corrupt and impressionable young women found irresistible. A stockbroker by trade, his main avocation in life was the pursuit of pleasure. Black Jack’s vanity was legendary. Tall and well built, he continually worked on his physique, using the facilities at the Yale Club and even going so far as installing a private gym in one of the six bedrooms at 740 Park. He kept a perpetual tan, sunbathing at every opportunity, in the nude if possible; the tan, coupled with an odd pigmentation condition, gave his skin the color of warm walnut oil, hence the nickname Black Jack. He enjoyed the name, just as he enjoyed the frequent comparisons to movie stars and matinee idols, first, in the 1920s, to Rudolph Valentino and later to Clark Gable. “He was this Clark Gable character,” a friend was later to reflect, “with the mustache and the sexy gleam in his eye.”It was that sexy glint, and the dangerous air that came with it, that first caught the attention of Janet Lee, a friend of Black Jack’s younger twin sisters, Maude and Michelle. That Janet was sixteen years younger than he made no difference; indeed, it added to the air of excitement, as there was something vaguely pedophilic about the disparity in ages. Their wedding was the perfect culmination of the Jazz Age. Taking place in East Hampton, at the quaint white clapboard St. Philomena’s Church, it was a scene out of a summer garden, with the bridesmaids’ wide-brimmed hats nodding up and down in the warm salty air like buttercups blowing in a field. The reception was held at Janet’s parents summer home on Lily Pond Lane.There has never been much publicity about Jackie’s maternal family, the Lees. There have been those who cynically claim that Jackie deliberately soft-pedaled them in an effort to downplay her Irish ancestry when courting John F. Kennedy, appealing to his internalized snobbish instinct that French Catholics were a rung up the social ladder from Irish Catholics. Then there have been those, the writer Gore Vidal leading the pack, who have hinted with splenetic glee that Lee is an Americanized version of Levy and that the family was of Jewish origin. Vidal and writer John Davis, a Bouvier cousin of Jackie’s, both merrily report that Janet herself repeatedly tried to pass herself off as a “Lee of Virginia,” a descendant of the Civil War general Robert E. Lee. Vidal and Davis each had an ax to grind with Janet Lee, as her divorce and remarriage would affect each of their lives, at least peripherally, but it is true that very little was ever mentioned in print about the Lees until well after the Camelot years had passed into history.James T. Lee, Jackie’s maternal grandfather, was a self-made man. A lawyer, banker, and real-estate developer, he built more than two hundred buildings in New York City, among them luxurious apartment houses on Fifth and Park Avenues. He had a cantankerous relationship with his wife, Margaret Merritt; their three daughters— Janet and her sisters, Winifred and Marion—were accustomed to emotionally strained family dinners at which their father would not speak directly to his wife but would relay requests through his daughters. Jackie’s younger sister, Lee Radziwill, remembers him with a shudder: “We were never close, to say the least, to my grandfather Lee. He was a very severe man, a miser and a terribly successful businessman. He didn’t have much warmth or charm.”James T. Lee showed no warmth or charm to his son-in-law—he actively disliked Black Jack to the point where he excluded his two Bouvier granddaughters from his will—and did not celebrate his daughter’s wedding with joy. Nonetheless, the newlywed Bouviers quickly settled into the life of prominent New York society figures. Their fourteen-room duplex at 740 was provided to them rent-free begrudgingly as a gift from the bride’s father, who owned the building. The apartment’s formal layout of public rooms (reception room, living room, dining room, and library, each with a working fireplace), centered on a twenty-five-by-twelve-foot entrance gallery with a sweeping curved staircase leading upstairs to six bedrooms plus servants’ quarters, gave them an extravagant base of operations that few in their social circle could equal. Summers were spent at a rented home on Egypt Lane, close to the hub of East Hampton social activity, the Maidstone Club, where the Bouviers maintained a cabana.Janet became pregnant in September, two months after her wedding, and Jackie was born the following July, six weeks late. In an effort to forge a better relationship with “Old Man Lee” (Black Jack’s name for his wife’s father), the baby was given the middle name of Lee and wore his christening dress at her baptism in December 1929. By then, of course, the stock market had crashed and the Bouviers’ carefree existence started to careen out of control. The family’s financial situation became perilous, and with the birth of a second child in 1933 (a second daughter, named Caroline Lee, again in honor of James T.), Black Jack found himself in the humiliating position of having to seek the largesse of his father-in-law, turning up, hat in hand, for handouts on a luxurious scale: the free apartment, the staff salaries, loans to pay living expenses. He was forced to seek financial assistance from a man who came close to despising him.Another problem between Jack and Janet was his rampant philandering. He had been a bachelor for so long that perhaps he was incapable of changing his ways. However, there is no evidence that he wanted to, or even tried. There was society gossip at the time of their wedding that, on their honeymoon cruise aboard the Aquitania, Jack had deserted his young bride for a rendezvous with the tobacco heiress Doris Duke. The honeymoon also highlighted his careless attitude with money. According to a story Jackie would tell her friends years later, “On their honeymoon … he went to the casino and came back very depressed because he had lost everything … . He gambled away all the money.”Black Jack’s cavalier attitude toward money, whether it was the cash in his pocket or the profits of his work, would be a source of long-lasting tensions within the family. The fear of economic insecurity found outside the Bouvier household with the malaise of the Great Depression was also firmly lodged inside the luxurious rooms at 740 Park Avenue. Black Jack’s casual approach to his marriage vows would also register heavily on the impressionable mind of his elder daughter. Jackie’s absorption and acceptance of these two character traits would manifest itself in actions large and small throughout her life, demonstrated in her behavior, attitude, and deeds that the world would observe with voyeuristic delight.England. 1961The baby was born at “magic time” on a warm midsummer’s night, just as the sun was dipping behind the trees on the western edge of the pastures and fields surrounding the manor house, its rays filtering a golden yellow light over the warm bricks and through the windows to the first-floor bedroom where the child’s parents were full of anticipation and great excitement.The sense of excitement was not for the impending birth of just any baby; this baby, born under these circumstances, engendered a special cause for celebration. Several bonfires had been assembled throughout the property, waiting to be lit by the proud father, signaling to all the countryside the joyful birth of a son and heir. For this was no ordinary child, and the father was no ordinary father. Johnnie Spencer was the only son and heir to the seventh Earl Spencer, head of one of the most illustrious of English aristocratic families. Johnnie was a nervous blend of excitement and anxiety as he waited for his young wife, Frances, to complete her labor and present him with a son.A son is of paramount importance in the world of the British aristocracy. The entire social, political, and financial structure of that world revolves around the concept of primogeniture—whereby the titles, estates, and fortunes of the ruling class have been handed down from father to son over the course of centuries. When there is no son to inherit, then the fortunes go to brother, or to nephew, or to cousin. This is the way that world works, and though hardly fair, it is a system that is rarely questioned and, indeed, is credited for being the mechanism that kept in place the great collections of art, furnishings, and estates that add such richness to England’s cultural heritage.Johnnie Spencer was anxious because he was already a father twice over, to two daughters, Sarah and Jane. Frances had borne him a son, John, who had died less than twelve hours after his birth a year and a half earlier. The tragedy of an infant’s death, the awful pain, both physical and emotional, was compounded by the additional pressure of providing a male heir. “It was a dreadful time for my parents,” the current Earl Spencer remembers. “I don’t think they ever got over it.” So much of the pressure was placed on Frances. That this baby be a son was of supreme importance to her. It was the duty of the aristocratic bride to continue the male line and was actually understood, in a tacit way, to be her primary responsibility. That thought was famously expressed by the American-born Consuelo Vanderbilt, duchess of Marlborough, who, after giving birth to Lords John and Ivor Spencer-Churchill, said that she could now relax, having provided “the heir and the spare.”So, in the few moments after the baby was born, at quarter to eight in the evening on July 1, 1961, the first words Frances Spencer uttered were to query, “Is it a boy?” When told that she had a healthy, seven-pound baby girl, the first words ever spoken about Diana Frances Spencer were her mother’s plaintive lament, “Oh, Johnnie will be so disappointed.”Those were the first words Diana was ever to hear.
 The bonfires went unlit, and nearly a week passed before the baby girl even had a name. She was called Diana Frances Spencer and was given the courtesy title of Honorable, or Hon., as her parents were styled Viscount and Viscountess Althorp. They would be called Lord and Lady Althorp until the day that the seventh Earl Spencer, Diana’s grandfather, died, when they would assume the titles Earl and Countess Spencer.The Honorable Diana Frances Spencer was born into a family with a distinguished heritage. The Spencers were one of the grandest families in England, their history rich with associations with the royal family spanning two centuries. The earldom, conferred by King George III in 1765 to an earlier John Spencer, is considered especially fine, as it predates the great industrial age and the Victorian era, when elevation to the nobility was much more common and the great wealth of a “self-made man” could purchase a title.The Spencers were one of the great landowner families, and their fortune dates back over five centuries to the 1500s. The fortune had its roots in the sheep trade of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and as it grew, it allowed for the family to maintain two magnificent houses, the stately Spencer House in London and a country seat, Althorp, in Northamptonshire.The Spencers were great accumulators, of both people and possessions. Through judicious marriages over the centuries, they were related to most of the noblest families in the land, counting as cousins the dukes of Devonshire, Abercorn, and Marlborough, the earls of Sunderland and Dorset, and such noble families as Churchill, Seymour, Suffolk, Halifax, and Baring. The Spencer family tradition of providing brides to the aristocracy would, of course, reach its apex with the marriage of Lady Diana Spencer to the Prince of Wales in 1981, forever tying the Spencers to the royal family that they had served so nobly for over two hundred years. The fourth, fifth, and sixth earls Spencer had all been conferred the honor Knight of the Garter, the highest honor the monarch can convey. An intimate connection with the royal family was part of Diana’s birthright. Diana’s great-grandfather had been the Lord Chamberlain to King George V; her paternal grandmother had been a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth II; her maternal grandmother, a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother; and her father, an equerry to both King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II.As they had collected a rich association with royalty, the Spencers over the centuries had also amassed a great collection of treasures. Spencer House, in the heart of St. James, facing London’s Green Park, is one of the few remaining great town houses of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and among the last still in private ownership. Every nobleman once owned an imposing London edifice, but most of them, over the years, have given way to apartment buildings, government offices, and department stores. Spencer House is an ambitious neo-Palladian structure, but as striking as the exterior facade presents itself to passersby walking through Green Park, the house was more renowned for its interiors, which were hailed as “the most magnificent interiors of eighteenth-century London.” The large house was rented out as offices in 1926 and, unscathed by war or commercial use, survives in its splendor, its public rooms recently restored to their former glory and the rest of the house rented out as offices. It is, in fact, still owned by the Spencer family, just as Apsley House, the London home of the fabled duke of Wellington, is still owned by the Wellesley family, with the duke and duchess still living in a suite of rooms on the first floor and the rest of the house open as a museum to the great war hero.Althorp, in Northamptonshire, has been the seat of the Spencer family since 1586, although Spencers had owned the property for almost a century before that. The house that was first built in the 1500s was made of red brick, and as the family’s fortunes and ambitions grew, Althorp was modernized, first in 1660 and then again in 1780. The facade was covered in Weldon stone, with Corinthian columns, pediments, and a classical balustrade added to the main structure. As was the case with Spencer House, the exterior splendor of Althorp was matched by its interior contents. Generations of discriminating collectors had filled the house with an impressive array of artwork, chiefly family portraits by Van Dyck, Reynolds, Gainsborough, and Rubens, magnificent gold plate, porcelain, and china collections and fine furniture. The Spencer family collections were testament to the family’s leading position in the social, political, and financial arenas of British history from the time of the Tudors, and despite a controversial “distress sale” period during the 1980s, when Raine Spencer, stepmother to Diana and her three siblings, sold off perhaps 20 percent of the family’s treasures, the collections today are as outstanding as any to be found in private hands.If Diana’s paternal heritage was exalted, her mother’s family, the Fermoys, was also quite aristocratic, if on a significantly lesser scale. Diana’s mother, Frances Roche, was the daughter of the fourth Baron Fermoy, Maurice Burke Roche. Fermoy had an American mother, the heiress Fanny Work, who had married the third Baron Fermoy in one of those advantageous nineteenth-century marriages between impoverished European titleholders and wealthy American girls.Fanny Work was a childhood friend of Jennie Jerome, the famous American beauty who was Winston Churchill’s mother. In 1879, during a four-month “grand tour” of Europe, Jennie introduced her friend to the charming and roguish James Burke Roche, heir to the Fermoy barony. Their courtship was swift and the subsequent marriage short, for Fermoy was a scoundrel who cheated on Fanny and spent most of her money. Fanny took her young son, Maurice, divorced Fermoy, and returned to the United States. When, at fortyfour, Maurice Roche inherited the title upon the death of his father, he moved back to England and quickly ingratiated himself with the shy duke of York and his wife, the future George VI and Elizabeth. He married Ruth Gill, the daughter of an Aberdeenshire farmer, who gave up a promising career as a concert pianist to become Lady Fermoy. So close was the friendship between the Yorks and the Fermoys that the duke of York arranged through his father, George V, for the Fermoys to lease Park House, a property on the private royal estate at Sandringham. This was to be their home for the rest of their married life. When Lord Fermoy died in the mid-1950s, his widow became a lady-in-waiting to the Queen Mother; finding Park House too large for her needs, she turned the lease over to her daughter and son-in-law, Frances and Johnnie Spencer.Ruth, Lady Fermoy, had been thrilled when her seventeen-year-old daughter caught the eye of Johnnie Spencer, Viscount Althorp, in 1953. Tall, red-haired, and handsome, Spencer was considered one of the finest catches in Britain. He had just left royal service, after serving a tour of duty with the queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.Frances Roche and Johnnie Spencer were married on June 1, 1954, at Westminster Abbey in London. The site of the wedding indicated both the high position and high esteem in which the young couple was held, as the abbey was the special preserve of the royal family. The Queen, Prince Philip, and the Queen Mother led the seventeen hundred guests, and the list included all the senior members of the royal family and a dazzling array of aristocrats, society figures, and politicians. They seemed destined to have a remarkable future.Alas, it was not to be the case. There was a twelve-year age difference between Frances and Johnnie (as, interestingly, there would be between Diana and Charles), and they quickly discovered that they shared few interests and had little in common. Whereas Frances was young, impetuous, and eager to try new things, Johnnie was stolid, set in his ways, and perfectly content with the status quo. Their first child, a daughter, Sarah, was born the year after their wedding, in 1955. A second child, daughter Jane, was born in 1957. There were tensions in the marriage, and drink and the lack of an heir exacerbated them. Frances was sent to doctors and fertility specialists, a humiliating and degrading experience. The joy that accompanied the birth of their son, John, was tragically short-lived, as he died ten hours after his birth in the winter of 1959. Back to the doctors and the specialists and the humiliation and the disabling sense of failure.Waiting for the birth of Frances’s baby that summer was a period filled with both joy and not a little tension, thanks to the unseemly quest for a child of specific gender. That the baby girl went a week without a name is only one indication of the kind of welcome accorded the Spencers’ third daughter. Both Sarah and Jane Spencer had a member of the royal family for a godparent, the Queen Mother for Sarah and the Duke of Kent for Jane. There was to be no royal godparent for Diana. It was understood that Johnnie would call in his greatest chip, that of Her Majesty, the queen, to be the godmother of his son. But there were any number of royals who would happily had filled the role: Princess Margaret; the duke or duchess of Gloucester; or Princess Mary, the Princess Royal.This is not to say that Diana was banished to the attic, like a modern-day Cinderella. Not at all. Her childhood was fairly normal, as a matter of fact. Normal, that is, in the world of privilege and gilt furniture. Diana and her sisters were under the care of a nanny, and her parents, because of their wealth and position, were freed from many of the duties and responsibilities that most parents perform on a daily basis. Johnnie Spencer did not go to an office, and Frances never pushed a supermarket cart down the produce aisle. Their lives were not bound up by two-week vacations every August and mowing the lawn. There was staff to do the housekeeping work, and trust funds to provide a steady income.Frances Spencer suffered from postpartum depression after the birth of Diana, and much of the responsibility for raising the youngest Spencer girl fell to the care of a governess, Gertrude Allen, called Ally. A spinster of the type who devoted herself to the care of small children, Ally had taken care of Frances as a young girl, and Frances trusted her with the care of her children. Ally remembers the young Diana as “a serious little girl who tried hard.”Finally, in 1964, Frances gave birth to a son, named Charles Edward Maurice. The queen agreed to Johnnie’s request and became godmother to the boy. Now that she had “done her duty” and provided an heir, Frances could fully have expected the tensions in her marriage to ease, and they did, but not for long. Frances was just twenty-eight, the mother of four, and she found herself trapped in a marriage to a man completely unsuited to her temperamentally and emotionally. Something was bound to crack, and when it did, there would be painful ramifications for all concerned.DIANA & JACKIE. Copyright © 2002 by Jay Mulvaney. All rights reserved.

Excerpted from Diana and Jackie by Jay Mulvaney. Copyright © 2003 Jay Mulvaney. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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What People are saying about this

Dominick Dunne
I never noticed the extraordinary parallels between their front-page-famous lives until now. I so enjoyed reading this book.

Meet the Author

Jay Mulvaney is the author of Jackie: The Clothes of Camelot and Kennedy Weddings. He was executive producer of Kennedy Weddings, a Weddings of a Lifetime special for Lifetime TV. A two-time Emmy Award winning writer and producer, his career has included stints as an executive at Nickelodeon, CBS, VH1 and Discovery. A writer and lecturer, he lives in New York City.

Jay Mulvaney is the author of Dear Mrs Kennedy, Jackie: The Clothes of Camelot and Kennedy Weddings. He was executive producer of Kennedy Weddings, a Weddings of a Lifetime special for Lifetime TV. A two-time Emmy Award winning writer and producer, his career has included stints as an executive at Nickelodeon, CBS, VH1 and Discovery. A writer and lecturer, he lives in New York City.

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Diana and Jackie: Maidens, Mothers, Myths 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous 11 months ago
While the subject matter of this book is fascinating, the writing and overall "flow" of it leaves a lot to be desired. I do not recommend it.