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Jacqueline Kennedy: Wife Of President John F Kennedy

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Interesting People Jacqueline (Jackie) Kennedy Onassis

Published on July 28th, 2009 | by Yellow Magpie


Jacqueline Kennedy: Wife Of President John F Kennedy

Early Picture Of Jacqueline Kennedy

Jacqueline Kennedy seemed to have it all, beautiful, smart, elegant and married to the President of the United States of America. She was the envy of every woman in the world.Yet the reality of her life was very different and was instead filled with sadness and tragedy.

Jacqueline Kennedy

Jacqueline Kennedy

A Life Filled With Tragedy

From an early age Jacqueline  encountered loss with her parents divorcing when she was very young. Her marriage to JFK was also marked with the loss of two babies her first through miscarraige and the other through respiratory disease.

She also had to endure the humiliation of her husband’s constant womanising, the most notorious being with Marilyn Monroe. Her controversial marriage to Aristotle Onnassis was another disaster with the two constantly rowing. Jacqueline Kennedy’s life was anything but Camelot.

Jacqueline Kennedy’s Early Life

Jacqueline (Jackie) Lee Bouvier was born in Southampton, New York, on July 28, 1929. The daughter of John Vernon Bouvier the third, and his wife, Janet Lee, Jacqueline’s younger sister Caroline was born in 1933.

Jacqueline was educated in the very best private schools, such as Chapin and Miss Porter’s School in Farmington Connecticut.  She also learned to ride horses and studied ballet. In addition, she loved to write stories and poems. In 1948, she was named ‘Debutant of the Year’.

Jacqueline Bouvier In 1935 Photo By David Berne

Jacqueline Bouvier In 1935 Photo By David Berne

Parent’s Divorce

Her parents divorced in 1940, and in 1942, her mother married Standard Oil heir, Hugh D. Auchincloss, Jacqueline and Caroline went to live with their mother and her new husband in Merrywood. However, both sisters remained close to their father and visited him often in New York.

On graduating from High School, Jacqueline spent her first years of college life in Vassar, Poughkeepsie, New York, she also studied in the Sorbonne and Grenoble Universities, in France.  On her return from France, she went to study at the George Washington University, in Washington. From there she graduated in 1951, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree, in French Literature.

Early Career

Her first job was with the Washington Times Herald, where she worked as an ‘inquiring photographer’.  Her job entailed asking people some questions, with the questions, answers and photographs appearing in the paper.

During her time at the paper, Jacqueline moved in the same social circle as John F. Kennedy. In May, 1952, at a dinner party organised by friends, the two were formally introduced. They dated on and off, as Kennedy was busy at the time running for the U.S. Senate, however, after he was elected, the romance became more serious and in June, 1953, they announced their engagement.

Jacqueline Kennedy Osnassis Photo By Toni Frissell

Jacqueline Kennedy Osnassis Photo By Toni Frissell

Kennedy Marriage

They got married later that same year, on September 12. The wedding was considered the event of the year, with 700 guests invited to the ceremony and 900 attending the lavish reception afterwards at Hammersmith Farm.

In 1957 following an earlier miscarriage and the birth of a still-born girl in 1956, their first child Caroline Bouvier was born.

Jacqueline Kennedy found being the wife of an energetic politician, difficult. She also found the demands of the Kennedy family hard to cope with.  Her husband was in bad health and suffered chronic back pain, from a war time injury. During his time of illness, Jacqueline encouraged him to write. The result was ‘Profiles in Courage’ a book which won him the Pulitzer Prize in 1957.

Presidential Campaign

In 1960, John F. Kennedy, announced that he was going for the Presidency, Jacqueline helped him in his campaign, doing everything she could to support him.  A couple of months into the campaign she discovered she was pregnant. Because of her previous history, her doctor ordered her to stay home.

However, this didn’t stop Jacqueline from being an important source of support to her husband. From her home she answered thousands of campaign letters, gave interviews, and wrote a newspaper column, called ‘Campaign Wife’.  On November 11, 1960, Jacqueline Kennedy, gave birth to her third child John Fitzgerald Kennedy Junior.

John And Jacqueline Kennedy At The America's Cup  Race

John And Jacqueline Kennedy At The America’s Cup Race

Jacqueline Kennedy: Presidential First Lady

Following her husband’s inauguration on Friday, January 20, 1961, Jacqueline Kennedy set about revamping the White House. To assist her in the restoration task, she enlisted the help of antiques experts, art historians, and directors of galleries and museums. She funded the restoration by publishing a guide book to the White House. Six months after its publication the book had sold 350,000 copies.

On February 14, 1962, she allowed CBS cameras inside the White House to see the magnificent results of her efforts.  Fifty million viewers tuned in to see the hour-long tour, which combined charm, elegance and sophistication. Jacqueline had also transformed the White House into a fitting tribute to American history.

On August 7, 1963, Jacqueline gave birth to Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, sadly he died two days later on August 9 from Hyaline Membrane disease, now more commonly called infant respiratory distress syndrome.

Throughout this time, Jacqueline Kennedy had to contend with her husband’s womanising.  Marilyn Monroe was one of his most famous affairs. It is believed that particular affair lasted up to 8 years.

Assassination: Coping With Loss

In November 21, 1963, Jacqueline accompanied President Kennedy on a political trip to Dallas, Texas. There on that fateful day as she and the President were travelling in an open-top car in a motorcade, President John F. Kennedy, was shot dead.

At the age of just 34, Jacqueline Kennedy became a widow.

Viewer Discretion Is Advised For the Video Below

Following the death, Jacqueline Kennedy was greatly admired for her dignity and courage, organising her husband’s funeral, with distinction and stateliness.  At her request an eternal flame was placed on John F. Kennedy’s grave.

Following the death of her husband, the attention of the media focused on Jacqueline and her family, so she decided to move to New York, where she purchased an apartment, on Fifth Avenue.From there she went about establishing the John F. Kennedy Library, which is today situated in Boston.

Death Of Robert Kennedy

More tragedy arrived in June, 1968, when the younger brother of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy was also assassinated as he left the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. This dealt another blow to Jacqueline Kennedy, who had grown close to Robert Kennedy and leaned on him after the death of her husband.

Jacqueline became increasingly nervous and afraid for the safety of her children and said she didn’t want to live in America any longer.

Troubled Marriage To Onassis

In 1968, Jacqueline Kennedy announced her engagement to Greek shipping millionaire announcement caused shock waves across the world and widespread disapproval.

Jacqueline and Aristotle were married on October 20, 1968, on the Greek Island of Skorpios. After the wedding Jacqueline, Caroline and John moved to live with Onassis, on the island.

Jackie And Aristotle Onassis

However, although the early days of the marriage were happy, it wasn’t long before they  degenerated into constant rowing as Onassis became frustrated over Jacqueline’s extravagance. To add to the tension, Onassis’s son was killed in a plane crash, leaving him bitter and depressed. Onassis also began seeing opera singer Maria Callas, whom he had dated prior to marrying Jacqueline Kennedy.

Back To New York

In January 1975, Onassis became seriously ill, and two months later on March 15, he died.

After his death, Jacqueline Kennedy and her two children moved back to New York. Once there she decided that it was time she tried to live an independent life and to rediscover herself. She took up a position as book editor at Viking, before moving to Doubleday. She was remembered at Doubleday as smart, warm and engaging.

Jacqueline Kennedy In 1961

Jacqueline Kennedy In 1961

Lymphoma And Untimely Death

In 1994, Jacqueline Kennedy was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. She received chemotherapy treatment and many expected her to recover. However, further tests revealed that the disease had spread to other organs. The doctors were unable to do anything further for her. Her family brought her back home, where they stayed by her bed night and day.

On May 19, at the age of 64, she passed away.

See the second part of the video here:

Further Reading

Check out Yellow Magpie’s Jackie Kennedy Quotes: Life, Women, Men, John And Sex to find out what this icon had to say and John F Kennedy: The Man Behind The Image for further insight.

Bobby and Jackie: A Love Story, a book by C. David Heymann, charts the relationship between Jacqueline and Bobby Kennedy, following the assassination of JFK. It also describes how Bobby became a surrogate father to Jacqueline’s children and of the affair that ensued between the two.

Nemesis: The True Story of Aristotle Onassis, Jackie O, and the Love Triangle That Brought Down the Kennedys, Peter Evans book, provides a fascinating insight into the relationship not only between Jacqueline Kennedy and Onassis but also describes the hatred Onassis bore for Bobby Kennedy. Evans claims Onassis was behind the assassination of Bobby Kennedy.

For people living in Ireland or the United Kingdom, you can access Bobby and Jackie: A Love Story and Nemesis: The True Story of Aristotle Onassis, Jackie O, and the Love Triangle That Brought the Kennedys here.

For those who live in Canada, you can obtain Bobby and Jackie: A Love Story and Nemesis: The True Story of Aristotle Onassis, Jackie O, and the Love Triangle That Brought the Kennedys from here.

For Germany: Bobby and Jackie: A Love Story and Nemesis: The True Story of Aristotle Onassis, Jackie O, and the Love Triangle That Brought the Kennedys.

For France: Bobby and Jackie: A Love Story and Nemesis: The True Story of Aristotle Onassis, Jackie O, and the Love Triangle That Brought the Kennedys.

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