Richard Nixon's Daughter Is Married To Another Former President's Grandson

In 2015, then-Prince Charles recounted past visits to the United States with CNN. His first, in 1970, stood out for more reasons than one. "That was the time that they were trying to marry me off to Tricia Nixon," he said. Tricia's father, Richard Nixon, might have suffered from royal envy. At the time, columnist Hugh Sidney reported in Life that the president tried more than most of his recent predecessors to emulate the outer trappings of monarchy. If Nixon did harbor any hopes for a dynastic alliance with the House of Windsor, he was doomed to disappointment. But his younger daughter had already made a match that could be called the American equivalent of a royal wedding.

Nixon's relationship with Dwight D. Eisenhower was complicated. Per Jeffrey Frank's "Ike and Dick," Eisenhower once tried to remove Nixon from the 1952 presidential ticket over a financial scandal and later tried to offload him into the Cabinet. Still, Nixon proved himself a loyal vice president over eight years, despite intense moments of resentment over getting the cold shoulder, and Eisenhower gradually built up a respect for Nixon's political acumen. But there remained considerable distance between the two of them before Nixon's daughter Julie married Eisenhower's grandson David in 1968 when Nixon was president-elect.

Eisenhower didn't want his grandson to marry Julie Nixon at first

By the time he left the White House in 1960, Dwight D. Eisenhower had come to appreciate Richard Nixon. Generally distrustful of career politicians, Eisenhower nevertheless needed his vice president's firebrand reputation to shore up support among segments of his own party. But increased respect didn't necessarily mean unequivocal support. During Nixon's run for the presidency in 1960, Charles Mohr of Time asked Eisenhower about any policies that Nixon had convinced him to adopt. "If you give me a week, I might think of one," the president replied (via the Richard Nixon Foundation).

Eisenhower's feelings were similarly hedged when it came to their personal lives. David and Julie were the same age and had known each other since 1956 (per History). While not particularly close as children, they reconnected in a big way during college. But news that they were going out didn't thrill Eisenhower. Per Jeffrey Frank's "Ike and Dick," he worried that David's career would be hurt by marrying too soon, and he made his feelings plain. When David proposed to Julie, he couldn't break the news to his grandfather one-on-one — he waited for a large family group.

Julie's charm eventually won Eisenhower over, and she may have helped soften his attitude toward her father. "That also changed the idea [about Nixon]," Frank told U.S. News & World Report, "that anyone who had a daughter this charming can't be all that bad."

Their wedding wasn't in the White House

David Eisenhower and Julie Nixon became engaged in March 1967, when both were attending college. David was studying at Amherst, Julie at Smith, both in Massachusetts and both sex-exclusive schools. The couple, 19 at the time, already faced pressure from David's grandfather to slow the relationship down. But as the 1968 presidential campaign got underway, they faced a different sort of pressure from the bride-to-be's father.

Per History, Richard Nixon counted on Julie and David during his run for the presidency. They offered a representation of a traditional, clean-cut couple at a time when that vision of American life was giving way to the counterculture. But the timing of the wedding, Nixon felt, was crucial. When Julie and David discussed setting a date for June 1968, Nixon fretted that it would look like a publicity move. Per Jeffrey Frank's "Ike and Dick," he also worried that Dwight D. Eisenhower would blame him for such a look, a point David concurred on.

But according to The Washington Post, when Nixon became president-elect later that year, he changed his tune on making a show out of the wedding. He lobbied his daughter to set a date after his inauguration and to hold the wedding in the White House. Against that pressure, David and Julie Eisenhower instead married on December 22, 1968, at Marble Collegiate Church in New York City; not exactly a private wedding, and one that bred some resentment in the press for the restricted access to the reception.

Their marriage has lasted over 50 years

After his wedding and his time at Amherst College, David Eisenhower caused a minor "scandal" by going into the Naval Reserve instead of the U.S. Army, a move Time rather cheekily likened to "Ulysses S. Grant joining the Confederates." Meanwhile, Julie Nixon Eisenhower turned her attention to politics. While she has never sought office herself, she became an enthusiastic surrogate of her father during his 1968 campaign even before her wedding. When the Watergate scandal broke, Julie's support for Richard Nixon was so sincere and so fierce that reporters were admiring and intimidated in equal measure.

Neither David nor Julie became career politicians or government workers. "We would never be elected today," Julie once told CBS, citing their moderate views compared to the modern Republican Party. Instead, they have worked as authors, separately and as a team, and focused on philanthropic work. As of December 2023, they will have been married for 55 years, but don't expect a lavish celebration — the couple is happy to go unrecognized.