Jackie Kennedy’s Surprise Party for Her Confidential Friend of a Lifetime

First Lady Jackie Kennedy surprised her lifetime confidante Nancy Tuckerman, then serving as White House Social Secretary, with a birthday party. She has never been fully credited with the lifetime of devoted friendship and trust she provided for her friend, who happened to be the world’s most famous woman, but public acclaim was always the last thing which Nancy Tuckerman sought. June 1, 1963, Nancy Tuckerman in her new office as the White House Social Secretary. Serving as the confidante of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis through the best and worst times of her tumultuous life and sharing more laughter than sorrow with her was ample reward enough. Even so, when Nancy was turning the big 3-5, Jackie thought it was high time that she was celebrated as the center of attention – with a surprise birthday party. The duo had first met as toddlers in New York City, while attending the same kindergarten. From a Connecticut family which included a signer of the Declaration of Independence, Nancy Tuckerman also saw her in summertime where both their families spent vacations on Long Island. Their bond truly cemented, however, when they roomed together at the boarding school Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Connecticut for their junior and senior years. Jackie Bouvier standing in the sleigh holding the reins to her horse Danseuse with Nancy Tuckerman who she nicknamed Tucky. In their yearbook, Bouvier’s profile said she could be “most often found laughing with Tucky.” They pulled some pranks, like getting a friend in the infirmary to come see them at the window – who then had her cold turn into the flu as a result. Once Jackie got her horse up to Farmington she would hitch it to a sleigh and ride through the snow, but she could never turn the reluctant Nancy into the brash girl on the horse that she was. Nancy Tuckerman, far left, photographed by Horst with other debutantes. (Conde Nast/Corbis) Like Jackie, Nancy also went through her social debut, photographed for Life Magazine with several other debs by the famous society photographer Horst. Several years later, while Jackie Bouvier was working as a newspaper columnist and photographer, Nancy Tuckerman started her own travel business. She also went on to become her friend’s bridesmaid in the 1953 Bouvier-Kennedy wedding. Nancy Tuckerman (center) one of the Bouvier-Kennedy wedding bridesmaids. It was two years and six months into her tenure

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Categories: First Ladies, History, The Kennedys

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