On Tour with Jackie Kennedy: Feasting on Hydra to Parthenon Politicking (Part 4)

In headscarves, sandals, and sunglasses through most of her Greek vacation, Jackie Kennedy presented a different Persona than her formal appearance in the preceeding week in Paris, Vienna and London. Not wanting the American First Lady to fear the intrusions she had unexpectedly encountered in London and Rome during her vacation in their country, Greek Prime Minister Constantine Karamanlis ordered the highest level of security, exceeding that even provided for Vice President Lyndon Johnson during his trip there, an odd action since the Greek government insisted the trip was “completely personal” and “completely unofficial.” Nevertheless, no less a person than the Prime Minister and his First Lady Amelia Karamanlis were on hand to greet her. At her Athens airport welcome, it was soon discovered that some 20 percent of the orderly crowd that numbered about 400 people were plainclothes police.  Chants of “Jackie! Jackie!” got drowned out by the scripted and clunky cry of “Hooray for Boston!” One reporter estimated that every third person was snapping a camera, but this time Jackie was so amused by the polite attention, she smiled and posed. When a young man broke free and ran towards her to snap a close-up, state police seized and detained him. She meanwhile entered the terminal to greet brightly-garbed U.S. Embassy employee wives who assembled into a stationary line she promenaded along, the same reception format used by the Queen. After unpacking on her arrival in Greece, the First Lady plunged into the blue Mediterranean for a swim. The First Lady, her sister and brother-in-law were given use of a magnificent Athens two-story villa on Kavouri Bay owned by Greek shipping magnate Markos Nomikus. Her bedroom on the top floor had pale green walls, modern furniture and a view of the Saronikos Gulf, along the Attic coast. Exchanging her black hair bow, light blue coat and royal blue dress for a bathing suit and ocean swim, she took a light dinner and turned in early. The next day, Jackie would begin an island tour aboard the 123-foot long yacht Northwind, loaned by her host’s Princeton-educated son Peter. In Greece, as she did on a later trip to Italy, Jackie Kennedy was snapped in her bathing suit – showing more skin than First Ladies ever had, exciting admirers and scandalizing others. Her appearance, words and deeds, however, gave those who met her and those who simply read about her, an entirely different Jackie

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Categories: First Ladies, On Tour with Jackie Kennedy, The Kennedys

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