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Charles Price, ambassador under Reagan, dies at 80

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) – Charles Price II, a former U.S. ambassador to Great Britain who coordinated friendly relations between President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, has died in California, a family spokesman said Friday. He was 80.

Price, who also served as Reagan’s ambassador to Belgium, died Thursday night at his home in Indian Wells, family spokesman Michael Landes told The Associated Press. Landes said the family had asked him not to immediately release the cause of death.

Price was a friend of the Reagans and Thatcher, who he worked with in the aftermath of the 1988 Lockerbie airplane bombing in Scotland. Price toured the crash site and attended memorials with the prime minister for the 259 victims.

Price also took part in treaty talks between the two nations as they sought to deal with the drug trade and Britain’s fight with the Irish Republican Army.

The ambassador held elaborate dinners for heads of state at his London home, and hosted the American delegation attending the 1986 royal wedding of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson. He and his wife, Carol Swanson Price, were known for their style and entertaining on both sides of the Atlantic.

Both were philanthropists and led the effort to place a statue of President Dwight Eisenhower in London near the U.S. embassy.

Nancy Reagan said she was saddened to hear of Price’s death and that her heart goes out to his family.

“I will never forget the extraordinary hospitality that Charlie and Carol showed us when we traveled to England on state visits, and we have continued our close friendship to this day. I will miss Charlie’s good humor, his generosity and his great stories,” the former first lady said in a statement.

Born and raised in Kansas City, Mo., Price went to military school in Lexington, Mo., graduated from the University of Missouri and served in the U.S. Air Force, according to the Kansas City Star, which first reported his death.

Reagan appointed him as ambassador to Belgium in the spring of 1981, and in 1983 made him ambassador to Britain, a post he would hold until the end of Reagan’s term. He was a banker and candy company executive before his diplomatic service and returned to banking afterward, serving as chairman of the board of Kansas City’s Mercantile Bank.

Price is survived by his wife.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)