On December 16, 1944, only months after American troops liberated the area surrounding the Palace of Versailles, a wedding ceremony was held in the Chapel of the Palace of Versailles. This year marks the 78th Anniversary of the wedding of M/Sgt. Michael “Mickey” McKeogh to T/4 Pearlie Hargrave.
The occasion was an exciting one, not only because it was the first wedding in over 50 years at Versailles, but also because up until that point the couple themselves had been serving in the war effort. Michael J. McKeogh served as General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s personal orderly, while Pearlie Hargrave–a WAC–served as Eisenhower’s driver. They began their courtship after meeting in North Africa.
Chaplain John Keegan performed the ceremony within the Chapel with many onlookers in attendance. While Hargrave donned a beautiful wedding dress, McKeogh, S/Sgt. John Farr, the best man, and Tech. 3 Margaret Chick, the bridesmaid, all wore their military uniforms.
General Eisenhower held a reception for the couple following their nuptials and gave them $100 as a wedding gift. However, Eisenhower had to leave the reception early, as the Battle of the Bulge broke out that same day.
Now, 78 years later, the Still Picture Branch at the National Archives houses photographs of this event within the Army Signal Corps photographic records (111-SC). In addition, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library also houses the personal papers of Michael and Pearlie McKeogh, https://catalog.archives.gov/id/628920.
For more information about the couple, please see the NPR article “At Versailles Palace, An American Looks For Clues To Family History.”
Original Caption: First wedding in the Chapel of the Palace of Versailles in over fifty years. Seated in the church, L/R are: S/Sgt. John Farr, Elmira, NY, best man; M/Sgt. Michael J. McKeogh, General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s personal orderly and chauffeur, the groom; of Corona, Long Island City, NY; Tec. 4 Pearlie Hargrave, Pillager, Minn., the bride; and Tech. 3 Margaret Chick, Toledo, Ohio, the bridesmaid. General Eisenhower attended the wedding and later held a reception for the young couple. France. 12/16/44.
Local Identifier Number: 111-SC-241129
Original Caption: The first wedding ceremony to be held in the chapel of the Palace of Versailles in over 50 years. M/Sgt. Michael J. McKeogh, Corona, [Long Island], New York, personal orderly and driver for General Dwight D. Eisenhower, takes unto himself a wife. The bride was T/4 Pearlie Hargrave, Phllager, Minn., and the ceremony was performed by Chaplain John Keegan, of Boston, Mass., somewhere in ETO. General Eisenhower later gave a reception for the young couple. France. 16 December 1944. Signal Corps Photo #ETO-HQ-44-21351 (Moore).
Local Identifier Number: 111-SC-198092
Original Caption: Five Star General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander, signs the guest book in the Palace at Versailles, France, while Charles Mauricheau-Beaupre, conservateur of the Palace, looks on. 12/16/44.
Local Identifier Number: 111-SC-241128
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