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Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush in 1994. Photo: Laura Patterson/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

The chill between First Ladies Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush was no secret, but USA Today's D.C. bureau chief Susan Page found fascinating new evidence for a biography, "The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty," out April 2 from Twelve.

Driving the news: The draft guest list for one of the biggest social events of the Reagan presidency — the White House dinner during a 1985 royal visit by Prince Charles and Lady Diana — shows that Nancy Reagan personally struck Vice President George H.W. Bush and his wife from the guest list.

Courtesy Twelve
  • The document shown above is being shared for the first time with Axios.
  • The dinner included "superstars of film, television, ballet, music, sports, science, the arts and New York society," the N.Y. Times reported.

Page interviewed more than 100 people for the book, including both Presidents Bush, First Lady Laura Bush, President Clinton and Hillary Clinton, as well as numerous other family members, friends, and colleagues. 

  • Page met with Barbara Bush five times, talked with her for hours, and was given rare permission to read all of her diaries, which go back to 1948. 
  • Her final entry was 12 days before her death, one year ago at age 92. 

In "The Matriarch," Page tells about the time a hippo appeared ready to charge the former first lady while she was on a photo safari with two granddaughters, private equity titan David Rubenstein and a few others in Kenya. 

  • While the Secret Service debated whether to move Mrs. Bush out of the way, she stood her ground.
  • "I think she thought she could out intimidate the hippopotamus," Rubenstein recalls. (Indeed, the hippo retreated.)

At the end of their first interview, Barbara Bush suggested a title for Page's biography: "The Fat Lady Sings Again."

Go deeper: Preorder Page's book.

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Go deeper

Updated 34 mins ago - World

In photos: Pope Francis spreads message of peace on first trip to Iraq

Iraqis dressed in traditional outfits greet Pope Francis upon his arrival at Erbil airport, the capital of the northern Iraqi Kurdish autonomous region, on March 7. Photo: Safin Hamed/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis was on Sunday visiting northern areas of Iraq once held by Islamic State militants.

Why it matters: This is the first-ever papal trip to Iraq. The purpose of Francis' four-day visit is largely intended to reassure the country's Christian minority, who were violently persecuted by ISIS, which controlled the region from 2014-2017.

Cuomo faces fresh misconduct allegations from former aides

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a February press conference in New York City. Photo: Seth Wenig/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The office of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) was on Saturday facing fresh accusations of misconduct against his staff, including further allegations of inappropriate behavior against two more women. His office denies the claims.

Driving the news: The Washington Post reported Cuomo allegedly embraced an aide when he led the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and that two male staffers who worked for him in the governor's office accused him of routinely berating them "with explicit language."

In photos: Protesters rally for George Floyd ahead of Derek Chauvin's trial

Chaz Neal, a Redwing community activist, outside the Minnesota Governor's residence during a protest in support of George Floyd in St.Paul, Minnesota, on March 6. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

Dozens of protesters were rallying outside the Minnesota governor's mansion in St Paul Saturday, urging justice for George Floyd ahead of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's trial over the 46-year-old's death.

The big picture: Chauvin faces charges for second-degree murder and manslaughter over Floyd's death last May, which ignited massive nationwide and global protests against racism and for police reform. His trial is due to start this Monday, with jury selection procedures.