Madeleine Albright's Daughter Alice Shares Her Late Mother's Life Story: 'Best Mom Ever'

Despite Madeleine Albright's busy schedule, her daughter tells PEOPLE, "she constantly called us, she made it very clear if we ever needed to get her we could get her at any time"

Madeleine Albright and Alice Albright arrive at a state dinner in honor of Chinese President Xi Jinping at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Sept. 25, 2015.
Photo: Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty

Madeleine Albright's daughter, Alice Albright, is honoring her late mother — who was the first female U.S. secretary of state — following her death on Wednesday at age 84.

In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, Alice — who currently holds a position as a "political appointee of the [Joe] Biden administration" as chief executive of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a U.S. governmental agency — opens up about her late mother's life, both professionally and personally.

Alice proudly describes Madeleine as "the best mom ever," and despite her career, which required her to jet-set all over the world, notes, "she was never, ever far away from us, ever." Although she does admit that her mom's "major amount of international work and travel" didn't occur until she and her siblings were "sort of out and out of the house."

"She constantly called us. She made it very clear that if we ever needed to get her, we could get her at any time," Alice shares. "And she always wanted to know how we were doing, what was going on, how were the kids, how's your job going, what's going on, always. So, she was always with us, all the time."

Former United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright attends the Yahoo News/ABC News White House Correspondents' Dinner Pre-Party at Washington Hilton on April 30, 2016 in Washington, DC.
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

Growing up, Alice says she and her siblings — twin Anne and sister Katie — were aware of their mom's high-profile career. She would even bring them to the campaign office she worked at to "help stuff envelopes on Saturday afternoon."

However, Alice tells PEOPLE, she never felt Madeline was anyone else but "just our mom."

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"I can't ever remember her coming home [from work] and saying, 'Guess what I just did?' She always came, was always, 'What's going on with you? Let's go sell Girl Scout cookies. Let's go for a trip,'" Alice explains.

Madeleine Albright Family Photos
Courtesy of the Albright Family

Earlier this week, Madeleine died from cancer, according to a statement from her family. In the announcement, she was remembered as a "tireless champion of democracy and human rights" and a "loving mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend."

Madeleine immigrated to the United States at 11 years of age from Prague in what was then Czechoslovakia in 1948. She spent the remainder of her childhood in Denver before going on to study at Wellesley College, where she graduated in 1959.

Her career in the political industry started after being recruited to the White House under President Jimmy Carter following years of postgraduate study. She also counseled several prominent Democratic politicians on foreign policy and was even named President Bill Clinton's ambassador to the United Nations in 1993.

Madeleine Albright Family Photos
Courtesy of the Albright Family

During her mother's lifetime, Alice tells PEOPLE, her family was a "huge" passion of hers.

"Thanksgiving and Christmases were always a big deal, and she always wanted to remember birthdays, and was always calling way in advance of the children's, the grandchildren's birthdays," she shares, adding that Madeleine got the tradition from her own mother. "And so that was always very important to her. She always, always made sure that everybody called everybody on their birthdays."

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"It wasn't just birthdays. It was anniversaries. Yeah, so [she was] very much into remembering things. In terms of what she loved to do, she loved to gather us all together. So there were some incredible trips that we took," Alice continues.

In December 1996, Clinton nominated Madeleine as the first female secretary of state, and she was unanimously confirmed weeks later, in early 1997. She remained in that role until the end of Clinton's second term as president.

"After she got out of office she went on a big sort of exercise binge, and she did a lot of exercise," Alice recalls. "She did a lot of walking. And when we would go to New York for our girls' weekends, which we would do often for her birthday, we walked all over the place. So she loved to walk ... she would walk around her garden and keep track of how many times she walked around the garden [during the COVID-19 pandemic]."

When asked about how her mother would want to be remembered, Alice says, "I think, first of all, as a great mom and great grandma, which she was."

"Then she would want to be, I think, remembered as an incredible public — a devoted public servant, which she was, and devoted to building friendships throughout the world, whether or not sort of in an official capacity, or just sort of person to person." Alice adds. "She was also incredibly humble and wanted to do things for herself. And she never forgot who she was."

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