Who they marry?
Finding the right husband or wife is not an easy task for a presidential child. Quite a few of the earlier presidential children from Maria Hester Monroe to Betsy Harrison married their own first cousins. It was a practice common to remote regions of the American frontier where cousins may have been the only choice. And, of course, it was long a common trend among European royals.
It is hard to trust newcomers into the power orbit. What are their motives? Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. was reportedly “suspicious about girls who showed interest in him.” Cousins were already inside the presidential family circle, and this may partly explain the phenomenon. In today’s United States there is approximately one marriage in a hundred between first cousins. Genetic scientists downplay the long held belief that such marriages are more likely to result in the birth of abnormal children.
Other sons and daughters of presidents have fallen in love with White House or congressional staffers and, in more recent times, military aides or secret service agents assigned to protect them.
Eleanor “Nellie” Wilson married Secretary of the Treasury William McAdoo, thus overnight becoming a Cabinet officer’s wife in her father’s own administration.
Two presidential daughters fell in love on ocean cruises while their father served in office. Both had spectacular weddings and both husbands turned out to be womanizers.
Dorothy Bush, who is both a daughter and sister of a president, married a congressional aide of the opposing political party.
When it comes to finding love, the children of presidents, as in the case of the rest of us, can only look nearby.
They often marry a White House aide
or their own cousin.