Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jackie O in Llanfihangel-y-Traethau

As far as I'm aware Jackie Kennedy Onassis visited Wales twice - and on both occasions it was to attend a funeral.

Her first appearance in Wales, in June 1967, was brief. She was here to pay her respects to old friend Lady Harlech who had died after a car crash in Merioneth. Still alive when pulled from the wreckage of her Hillman Imp, Lady Harlech expired en route to Penrhyndeudraeth hospital. She had gotten to know the Kennedy clan when her husband, Lord Harlech, was an ambassador in Washington. He was a friend and golfing partner of JFK.

At 2.10pm on the day of the funeral Jackie Kennedy, as she was still then known, flew into Hawarden Airport from Heathrow accompanied by her ex-brother-in-law, Robert Kennedy. She wore a black two-piece with a single link gold chain belt. She and Bobby Kennedy were then driven over the border with a full police escort to Oswestry Roman Catholic Church where the funeral service took place, before proceeding to nearby Selattyn for the burial.

Funeral number two occurred in February 1985. This time it was Lord Harlech who had snuffed it and, spookily, he too was killed in a car crash. Jacqueline Onassis, as she was now known, was accompanied by another former Kennedy brother-in-law, Edward (see pic). She wore a long black, fur-lined gaberdine coat with black boots. The funeral service took place at Llanfihangel-y-Traethau near Harlech in Gwynedd. 80 mourners were in attendance with another 100 outside the church.

The address was given by Robert Hughes, son of Welsh novelist Richard Hughes, who had been a close friend of Lord Harlech. He said of the aristocrat: “This corner of Wales is his home and it is here he has chosen to be buried. He will share this place with farmers who worked these hills for generations. He loved it and it is wholly right that this son of our parish should be buried here.”

*The above photograph is the copyright of Getty Images.