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Jackie Kennedy on Indira Gandhi: ‘A Real Prune’

Charles DeGaulle was “that egomaniac,” Martin Luther King “a phony,” and Indira Gandhi “a real prune — bitter, kind of pushy, horrible woman.”

So says Jackie Kennedy in a fascinating seven-part interview from 1964, to be released this Wednesday for the first time. The contents have been sealed for decades, ever since Jackie sat down with historian (and family friend) Arthur Schlesinger the year after John F. Kennedy was killed.

Here’s the First Lady on her husband’s spiritual side:

Asked if Mr. Kennedy was religious, she tells Mr. Schlesinger, “Oh, yes,” then appends a revealing qualification: “Well, I mean, he never missed church one Sunday that we were married or all that, but you could see partly — I often used to think whether it was superstition or not — I mean, he wasn’t quite sure, but if it was that way, he wanted to have that on his side.”
He would say his prayers kneeling on the edge of the bed, taking about three seconds and crossing himself. “It was just like a little childish mannerism, I suppose like brushing your teeth or something,” she says. Then she adds: “But I thought that was so sweet. It used to amuse me so, standing there.”
The book (with audio included) is titled Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life With John F. Kennedy.  Can’t wait to read it. A companion exhibit opens at the JFK Library this month.
{ Photo: Cecil Stoughton / John F. Kennedy Library }

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