Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of President Bill Clinton, wed her longtime boyfriend investment banker Marc Mezvinsky at a lavish event on the Hudson River near Rhinebeck, N.Y., last week.

With Chelsea in mind, we look at the children of former presidents, who married while their dads worked in the Oval Office.

  • Jenna Bush — The daughter of President George W. Bush, married Henry Hager, a former intern for Karl Rove, on May 10, 2008, at an outdoor affair, at the Bush family ranch in Crawford, Texas. The president and the bride picked “You Are So Beautiful” for their father-daughter dance. She was the 22nd child of a president to get married while having a father in the Oval Office.
  • Dorothy Bush — The divorced daughter of President George H. W. Bush, married for the second time in June of 1992, to Robert P. Koch, a former aide to House Democratic leader Richard Gephardt. Dorothy was the only presidential daughter to have her nuptials at Camp David. According to Newsweek, the president had left the blue suit he had planned to wear at the White House. He ended up wearing: white pants with blue pinstripes, a white cowboy shirt, a navy blazer and a tie provided by the groom.
  • Patricia “Tricia” Nixon — The daughter of Richard M. Nixon was married to Harvard law student Edward Finch Cox in 1971 in the only Rose Garden wedding. The event was extravagant, with a 400-egg-white cake .The wedding was described in Life magazine as “akin to American royalty.” The day after the wedding — with the happy couple now safely at Camp David on their honeymoon — The New York Times broke a story on the Pentagon Papers.
  • Julie Nixon — Julie opted for a small and private ceremony when she married presidential grandson, Dwight David Eisenhower II. It was by officiated by the Rev. Norman Vincent Peale, in the nondenominational rite at the Marble Collegiate Church in New York City. The wedding was in December, just a few weeks after Nixon had won the presidency. Julie and Dwight met at the 1956 Republican National Convention.
  • Lynda Baines Johnson — The oldest daughter of President Johnson, Lynda married Marine Capt. Charles S. Robb in the East Room of the White House in 1967. The couple had met when Robb worked as an aide in the White House. Robb served with distinction in Vietnam and later became the governor of Virginia. He also was elected to the Senate. The marriage survived Robb’s reported affair with Tai Collins, Miss Virginia USA (1983).
  • Luci Baines Johnson — A Catholic convert, at the age of 19, she married Patrick John Nugent in a high-profile wedding at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 6, 1966. They later divorced, and the marriage was annulled by the Catholic Church in August 1979. On March 3, 1984, at the Johnson Ranch near Austin, Texas, she married Ian J. Turpin, a Scottish-born Canadian financier.
  • Alice Roosevelt — In 1906, Alice Roosevelt, the oldest child of Theodore Roosevelt, married to Republican Congressman Nicholas Longworth, 14 years her senior, in a White House wedding, which was the social event of the year. A self-confessed hedonist, Alice was a real party-girl, whose personal motto was: “If you haven’t got anything good to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” It was an unstable marriage and the only child, Paulina, was a result of Alice’s affair with Sen. William Borah.
  • Eleanor “Nellie” Wilson — President Woodrow Wilson 24-year-old daughter, married Secretary of the Treasury William McAdoo, in the Blue Room at the White House on May 7, 1914. McAdoo was a 50-year-old grandfather and a widower with six children. One of his daughter’s was the same age as Nellie. They had two daughters, and were divorced in 1934. The 71-year-old McAdoo later married 26-year-old nurse Doris Isabel Cross.
  • Jessie Wilson — The middle daughter President Woodrow Wilson, Jessie was lauded for her beauty, intellect and political activism. On Nov. 25, 1913, she married Harvard Law Professor Francis B. Sayre in the East Room of the White House. The New York Times wrote a 2,446-word. page-one story on the event, noting that Jessie added to her vows: “to be a loving, faithful and obedient wife.” It was the fifth time a daughter of a president was married in the White House.
  • Nellie Grant — Despite her father’s disapproval, in 1874, 18-year-old Nellie Grant, the only daughter of President Ulysses S. Grant, married Englishman Algernon Sartoris, a wealthy English singer in the East Room of the White House. It was said to be the first high-profile American wedding. The lace alone on the bride’s dress cost $1,500. Grant wept throughout the ceremony. The couple later broke up, and after Sartoris died, she remarried.

— Compiled by a happily married John Haydon

Source: MSNBC, “All the Presidents Children” by Doug Wead. Wikipedia,, Associated Press, The Washington Times.

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