True romance? A tale of doe-eyed devotion

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The Independent US

WHEN RONALD Reagan ran for the presidency in 1980, one video clip of him and his wife, Nancy, was played and replayed, showing them skipping along hand in hand and Nancy flicking her leg to kick him playfully in the behind. Neither was in the first flush of youth.

WHEN RONALD Reagan ran for the presidency in 1980, one video clip of him and his wife, Nancy, was played and replayed, showing them skipping along hand in hand and Nancy flicking her leg to kick him playfully in the behind. Neither was in the first flush of youth.

Those carefree days are long gone. Mrs Reagan is now occupied full-time looking after her husband who is in the twilight of Alzheimer's disease.

But if her just-published account is true, and the testimony of the letters with it suggests it is, their marriage was as romantic, harmonious and enduring as the marriage of the present occupants of the White House is stormy.

Her book, I love you, Ronnie. The Letters of Ronald Reagan to Nancy Reagan, arrived in America's bookshops yesterday, bringing tears to nostalgic Reaganites amid a toughly fought presidential campaign.

Ronald Reagan may have been divorced, with children, and a not altogether successful film actor when they married 48 years ago, and their world at the time may have been Hollywood, but the marriage seems to have worked from the start. The doe-eyed devotion they displayed in public was not, it seems, a political artifice.

And while "Ronnie" was known for his way with words as President, that was his actor's skill; those words were crafted by his speechwriters. In private, he was more innocent and straightforward.

Proceeds from the book will go to Alzheimer's research and a library foundation

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