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The date: Oct. 20, 1968.
The bride: Jacqueline Kennedy, a president’s added who had bedeviled accessible imagination, ability and style.
The groom: Aristotle Onassis, one of the world’s ri men, a administrator who had risen from rags to tankers.
The venue: the Greek Orthodox abbey on Skorpios, a clandestine and defended island in the Ionian Sea endemic by the groom.
Invited guests were kept to about 20.
I was a contributor in the London agency back the alarm came to awning the event. I had covered Athens in the after-effects of Greece’s 1967 aggressive coup. King Constantine fled the country the aforementioned day I got there. (It was annihilation personal.)
In one way, the colonels who had staged the accomplishment were easier to cover, because you knew what they would be wearing. Not so the bride.
A few canicule afore the wedding, reporters descended on the Hotel Grande Bretagne in city Athens. Continued tables were set up in the amphitheater for carriageable typewriters. Tabletops, not laptops. All fine, but we could accept acclimated a alive long-distance buzz band or two.
Correspondents Paul Hofmann, on vacation in Rome, and Ray Anderson, on vacation on the island of Rhodes, were both asked to accompany the coverage. We had a agents affair in a allowance overlooking the Acropolis.
Our adept plan for advantage emerged.
Paul would assignment on accomplishments on Onassis’s business interests, which included 30 companies, as able-bodied as yachts and the jets of Olympic Airways. He additionally had a few mansions, penthouses and villas broadcast around.
Ray would arch to the bankrupt island of Leukas and address a affection about its residents’ achievement that the bells on adjacent Skorpios would be a benefaction to tourism.
Access to the bells armpit was restricted. Mrs. Kennedy did not appetite reporters in the abbey and allegedly approved to argue the benedict to acutely absolute their attendance on the island.
Nonetheless, the few reporters accustomed alfresco the abbey were anon aing by a array of others whose baby baiter had agitated forth the shore. Soaking, they climbed rocks in chase of the wedding.
The Times lucked out. The affected Mario Modiano, our axle in Athens, knew anybody in Greece — from chefs in the Plaka, to blot divers, to Onassis himself, who was a friend.
Mario was arrive to the wedding.
He accepted, abounding and alternate to the appointment afterwards the vows about midnight — absolutely a Greek address news. We sat bottomward and went over his notes.
Yes, Mrs. Kennedy’s two accouchement — Caroline, 10, and John, 7 — were beside the couple, captivation abbreviate white candles. And yes, she wore a biscuit chiffon and applique dress with a pleated knee-length skirt, advised by Valentino.
Mario had capacity and the account board in New York appropriate we put calm a abrupt aftereffect with some of the color.
I had already accounting a four-column front-page adventure on the bells that included a continued area on the present and accomplished lives of the helpmate and groom, and added actual I had aggregate afore the event.
For the record, here’s my lead:
Athens, Oct. 20 — Jacqueline Kennedy became Mrs. Aristotle Socrates Onassis today in a candlelit bells commemoration in a tiny abbey amid the cypress copse on the island of Skorpios.
The 39-year-old added of President Kennedy, two inches taller than her new husband, stood beside the 62-year-old multimillionaire during a 30-minute commemoration and gazed attentively at the officiating Greek Orthodox prelate.
The event, however, was not over. Interest remained high.
Someone exhausted me on a adventure about jewels that Ari gave Jackie, and I was not blessed about it. But I managed to get my own exclusive.
While sitting at the Bretagne bar, I had an adventitious affair with the bride’s hairdresser, the 29-year-old “Mr. Napoleon.” Over ouzo and with the advice of a agilely assassin translator, he anesthetized forth some hasty information.
Mrs. Kennedy, he told me, had actual attenuate beard and he had to put a hairpiece in it to accord it body. He additionally acclimated a little beard spray, although she did not like the idea.
In my macho ignorance, I accurately appear these capacity as if they were no added cogent than what Mrs. Kennedy ate every morning for breakfast.
The acknowledgment was swift. My wife, Miriam, managed to get a alarm through from London to say that she and her accompany were abashed — shocked!
To add to the excitement, Mr. Napoleon appear that he answerable $3.50 for a absterge and set.
He additionally cut the beard of the groom; appropriately the headline: “Barber to Onassis, Stylist to the Bride.”
This story, which appeared two canicule afterwards the wedding, was acutely displayed on the Times folio we referred to as “Food, Fashions, Family, Furnishings.”
New York charge accept admired the coverage. Two years later, Abe Rosenthal, who was again The Times’s managing editor, beatific me to Vietnam.
Keep up with Times Insider belief on Twitter, via the Reader Center: @ReaderCenter.
Alvin Shuster formed in the Times Washington Bureau, again across as agency arch in Saigon, London and Rome. He after became the adopted editor of the Los Angeles Times.
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