November 1967. In the three days that Jacqueline Kennedy spent strolling through the ruins of the 600 temples at Angkor, the noblest remnants of Asia’s past, she could almost be the private citizen she wished to be: the ordinary tourist looking, touching and marveling.
Jacqueline Kennedy and her escort, Lord Harlech of Great Britain, tour the ruins of the Bayon Temple, a 16-spired citadel of the ancient Khmer Empire. Mrs. Kennedy and Lord Harlech later picnicked and toured the ruins of Angkor Wat, fulfilling a dream she has had since college days.
It was a brief respite, however, on her tour of Cambodian Prince Norodom Sihanouk’s Khmer Kingdom. Flying from Phnom Penh to the port city of Sihanoukville to dedicate a street named for John F. Kennedy, Jackie soon had to cope with her host’s propensity for using her presence as a publicity platform to the world.
As she left Cambodia for Thailand, Jackie was visibly tired, as well she might be. Sihanouk was not only a demanding tour guide but also a difficult—and at times embarrassing—host. While Jackie was in Angkor, he had called a press conference to lecture the captive visiting newsmen on his pet peeve: references to “tiny” Cambodia in the foreign press