Ronnnie and Maggie, Ted and Bet

/ Commentary

I love this photo.

Black and white photo of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher just outside the White House.

Ronnie and Maggie

Partly for its insanity. Looking back, we appear to have accepted that in some sense Ronnie and Maggie were a couple. They’re holding hands in this picture, right? God knows what Nancy would have made of this open secret, or the evangelical right that backed Ronnie. Although they appear to not be too bothered by the personal morality of their guy. I suspect Dennis would have been unbothered.

Anyway, Ronnie and Maggie looked a lot like my grandparents, Ted and Bet, who obviously were a real couple. So this coupledom worked on several levels for me.

Reagan and Ted sported the same brillantined hair, while Ted shared Ronnie’s rugged western moviestar looks. He always wore a suit when he went out in Ipswich. Maggie looks like my gran, Bet, who was a Tory councillor in Whitehouse (the estate, not the seat of government).

I do wonder whether she consciously tried to rock Maggie’s image or whether that was just a look for women of that era (my gran was a year and a bit younger than Thatcher). Or whether the real couple aped the not-real.

Odd mixture of glamour, artifice, unreality and hard right economics back then, but we are where we are.

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