The latest gossip out of London is that Caroline Kennedy stands to assume the role of American ambassador to the United Kingdom if Barack Obama wins the presidency. She would presumably replace current Ambassador Robert Holmes Tuttle, who was sworn in by Condoleezza Rice in 2005 and has been active in Republican politics since the Reagan administration. The Daily Telegraph’s “Mandrake” column, which published the gossip, had two takes. One, this could be bad, because her grandfather Joseph Kennedy once said in 1940, during a bleak time in World War II, that “democracy is finished in England, it may be here [in America].” Brits apparently don’t think too fondly of the Kennedy patriarch, who publicly advocated appeasement of the Nazis. (JFK, Caroline’s dad, had a more nuanced view at the same time, in his published Harvard thesis “Why England Slept.”)
The upside, “Mandrake” points out, is that the American Embassy in London may finally have good parties again. “Mandrake hopes that if she does bag London, Miss Kennedy will make good use of the entertaining space at the American ambassador’s official residence, Winfield House in Regent’s Park,” explains writer Tim Walker. “I haven’t been to a really good party there since the jovial Phil Lader’s tour of duty came to an end in 2001.” If you’re a society and history nerd like we are, you will totally get a kick out of reading the State Department’s Website on Winfield House. Apparently there were some fabulous, debauched parties there back when heiress Barbara Hutton owned it and loaned it off to the Royal Air Force, which left “buckled floors, peeling walls, broken windows and dangling wires.”
Caroline doesn’t seem like that kind of girl, but she’s a Kennedy — we at least know she can hold a drink. Those Brits would love her.
Prepare for a Kennedy at the Court of St James’s [Daily Telegraph]