She Was Born Into Social Royalty
Jackie Kennedy was practically an aristocrat from birth. She was born in New York in 1929, to a wealthy Wall Street stockbroker and a socialite mother. However, her father had a harmful habit of gambling, giving him the nickname "Black Jack". Jackie was named after her father, although he was an infamous gambler, philanderer, and drunkard.
Jackie’s father's family was considered upper-class. They had humble origins, yet over the years, the family acquired massive wealth. With a desire to blend in the world of the high and mighty, they faked documents in order to establish close ties with European royalty. Although it was a desperate try, having a noble title affected Jackie’s childhood in a very real way.
A Privileged Background
Despite her father's bad reputation, Jackie idolized him as she was growing up. Perhaps as a way to compensate for his faults as a father, John returned her daughter’s admiration by showering her with praise and material things. It was no secret that Jackie was raised in the realms of America’s elite. As a young girl, she was a perfectionist, competitive side, and had astonishing confidence.
She competed in horseback riding and won most of her competitions. She mastered the French language as a child, studying in one of the most prestigious all-girls schools in Manhattan, alongside Ivanka Trump and Queen Noor of Jordan. She was described by her teachers as "a darling child, the prettiest little girl, very clever, very artistic, and full of the devil"?
Jackie's classmates and teachers remembered her for her wit, her unbelievable accomplishments, and perhaps at the most—her unwillingness to become a housewife. She attended the University of Grenoble in France where she spent her junior year and went to the prestigious Sorbonne in Paris. Then, Romance began to blossom in Paris when she met John P. Marquand Jr.
John was the son of the famous novelist John P. Marquand. The pair’s relationship was intense and, together, they enjoyed the vibrant lifestyle in the city. However, when Jackie’s mother heard about the relationship, she quickly disapproved. To her socialite mother, writers were as poor as church mice. She wanted Jackie to marry a rich man.
Building a Career in Vogue
After a year in France, Jackie returned home. In the States, where she graduated with a BA in French literature. Her next stunt—the junior editor at Vogue magazine. She applied and was quickly accepted—beating several hundred women in the process. The fierce and independent young woman was on her way to making a name for herself in the world of journalism.
However, when she was sent for an assignment in the offices of Vogue in New York, her managing editor suggested that she should give up her job and go to Washington. Jackie was already 22 years old at that time, an age that was considered a little old to still be single. It was a surprise that the determined Jackie took the advice.
A More Challenging Job
Jackie was a part-time receptionist at the Washington Times-Herald, a local newspaper, but was always up to going out of her comfort zone and learning new things. She soon grew bored with the gig and asked her editor, for a more challenging job. Although he was quite reluctant at first, Jackie was assigned the task of being the “Inquiring Camera Girl.”
Jackie was given a camera, and her job was to find witty men on the street and conduct interviews with them. This connected her with better-known people including Tricia, the daughter of Vice President Nixon. Jackie quickly established her career as a trusted journalist of high society individuals. FInally,iIn this social circle, she met the dashing John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
Welcoming Another Romance
Belonging to the same social environment, Jackie Lee Bouvier and John F. Kennedy seemed to be made for each other. They had a lot of similarities. They were both young and attractive. Both had an international background and were raised as Catholics. They shared the same interest in journalistic writing as well. But the most important was that they were both single.
Despite being a perfect choice, Jackie was not inclined to date John at first. The former Naval Officer asked her out and toured her on a yacht. Jackie’s diary revealed what she felt about her date. She wrote that JFK had a funny body, skinny with toothpick legs. More romantic dates followed and soon enough, John won the heart of the beautiful and distant Jackie.
Covering the Coronation of the Queen
Despite having a man in her life to please, Jackie’s first love would always be her reporting career. In 1953, J.F. Kennedy decided to run for Senate. Soon after the November election, he proposed to his beloved Jackie. Every second woman on the planet would say yes in an instant to the dashing Kennedy, but Jackie was different. For a while, she left Kennedy hanging and flew to Europe. She was to cover the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II for the Time-Herald.
Jackie had second thoughts on marrying Kennedy. Although they seemed to be a match made in heaven, John reminded her of her own father- they were both notorious womanizers. Kennedy’s weakness was no secret to his parents and they decided to talk to Jackie at once.
The Advice of Her Future Mother-In-Law
Rose Kennedy knew her sons too well, having been used to living with her unfaithful husband for a very long time. She knew the boys in the family were prone to cheating. Over the years, Rose had had plenty of conversations with all of her daughters in law. She advised them that the best way to deal with a womanizer husband is to accept the situation and ignore it – completely.
This heart to heart conversation between Rose and Jackie seemed to resonate into the troubled woman’s mind. Upon returning home from Europe after her assignment, she gave her sweet yes to John.
A Classic and Blessed Wedding
Both coming from families with great wealth, Jackie and John’s wedding was unsurprisingly one of the most awaited ceremonies in America at that time. They got married at St. Mary's Church in Newport, Rhode Island on September 12, 1953, with 700 important guests bearing witness. Another 800 people coming from the upper class of the society were present as well at the reception.
Aside from holding an important position in the Catholic Church, Rose Kennedy had been made a Papal Countess by Pope Pius XII. The union was blessed not only by Richard Cushing, the Archbishop of Boston but also by the leader of the Catholic Church in the world. However, despite blessings raining on their wedding day, Jackie and John soon suffered personal tragedies as a couple.
A Series of Misfortune and Tragedy
After the wedding, it took two years for Jackie to get pregnant. However, the much-awaited blessing for the couple ended up in tragedy when Jackie had a miscarriage in 1955. The second pregnancy in 1956 resulted in a stillbirth, which broke the couple’s hearts once more. What made everything worse for Jackie was his husband’s battle for his health. The series of tragedies became the catalysts of Jackie’s depression.
However, Jackie was able to get out of the trap when Kennedy decided to run for Senate again in November 1957. Jackie had to help him with his campaign and it became the light at the end of the tunnel for her.
Welcoming the First Princess in the Family
Jackie proved to be an asset in JFK’s campaign for Senate. With her skill in presenting speech and connecting with people, Kennedy’s principal political consultant, Kenneth O'Donnell, described the crowd as twice as big whenever Jackie was around. Aside from being able to improve the professional aspect of their lives, they were also mending the personal ones in the process.
Before 1957 came to an end, Jackie gave the best gift to John. She gave birth to their first child and they named their princess Caroline. Later in the child’s life, she would serve as the United States' ambassador to Japan.
One of Her Worst Nightmares
Despite the coming of a child, John’s infidelity never seemed to cease. Jackie was not yet completely over her past miscarriages and her husband’s unfaithfulness was even strengthening the blow. One night, John came home late, evidently spending the night with his mistress. The confrontation ultimately led to Jackie deciding she had enough of his whims. She was so distressed she ran out of the house wearing nothing but her nightgown.
Seemingly lost and unable to handle the situation, Kennedy called an ambulance, and Jackie was taken to the Valleyhead Psychiatric Clinic in Carlisle, Massachusetts. Against her will, she endured three brutal electroshock treatments. She was even forced to stay there for a week. In later interviews, she would admit that those electroshock treatments were the nightmare ride of her life. She wanted a way out after those horrible incidents.
Talk of Divorce Had to Be Set Aside
Joseph P. Kennedy, John’s father, was well aware of his son's dreams of becoming the President of the United States. The thought of Jackie divorcing him could easily lead to a scandal that would ultimately ruin his chances of winning the public’s favor. He had to do something.
It was a desperate move for a father to bribe his daughter-in-law for the sake of his son. Jackie was offered one million dollars to forget about the divorce. The father got the answer he hoped for. Jackie remained JFK’s wife until his assassination in 1963.
The Run for Presidency
John F. Kennedy officially announced that he would be running for President in 1960. Just like the old times, Jackie was on her husband’s side, serving as his greatest asset. However, she didn’t manage to accompany him in person in the latter part of his campaign. She was pregnant again. Because Jackie had trouble having a healthy pregnancy, she had to stay at home. However, she still helped her husband by publishing articles on a weekly column with the title “Campaign Wife.” All throughout JFK’s efforts to win the hearts of the Americans, Jackie had his back, supporting him all the way.
The Democratic Party officially named John F. Kennedy as their standard-bearer for the Presidency on July 13, 1960. On November 8, 1960, Kennedy became the 35th President of the United States after defeating Richard Nixon, the nominee of the Republican Party.
A Well-Deserved Title
On January 20, 1961, John, Jackie and Caroline set foot on the White House as the first family of the United States. It didn’t take long for the couple to become the sweethearts of the media. Succeeding the camera-shy Eisenhowers, the Kennedy couple who was young and photogenic certainly kept the press busy. They had successfully established a cool and formidable image. The power couple had set the bar so high for the future Presidents and First Ladies.
Jackie kept herself busy at the White House by working on the things she valued. She dedicated most of her time promoting culture and arts. She reached out to the elite communities and organized cultural and political galas and events. Jackie even left her mark at the White House. Her greatest project can still be seen and felt in the White House Today.
Restoration of Historical Significance
Accustomed to her life as one of America’s elite, Jackie expected to find the White House a well-maintained residence. Although she didn’t expect it to surpass the kind of living her family could provide, she fell into disappointment when she saw that the place was dark and frumpy. The furnishings were uninviting and she failed to find any historical significance. For the history-buff and style-conscious First Lady, the situation was unacceptable. She couldn’t ignore what she’d found and decided to start one of her most valuable projects.
Jackie sought the help of historians, interior designers, and furniture experts. These people helped her track down historical art pieces and furniture. She also asked for the guidance of a fine arts committee. Aside from the interiors, Jackie worked tirelessly on reviving the gardens as well. The project required a huge budget. However, she had thought of a way on how they could carry on. She created a "White House Catalogue" which was sold to American citizens. It explained the history and significance of restoring the Presidential residence to the people. Up to this day, the First Lady’s sense of history and cultural importance had served as a basis in the White House's decoration.
My Rich Granddaughter
Rose Kennedy Schlossberg is an American actress, screenwriter, and producer. She is also the oldest child of Caroline Kennedy and Edwin Schlossberg and the granddaughter of Jackie and John F. Kennedy. She graduated from Harvard and is doing an amazing job of staying out of the paparazzi's view.
We can't say how much she's worth, but let's look at the cold facts - She's a Kennedy. Her mom is the only living child of JKF, and her mom is a big lawyer, author, and former ambassador (to Japan). Mom is estimated at $250 million. So do the math.
The Mansion In Martha’s Vineyard Is On The Market For $65 Million
If you want a piece of the Jackie vibe, you should head over to christiesrealestate.com who are handling this sale. The place is so big it has its own name - Red Gate Farm. The first level of this mansion has a formal sitting room with a fireplace. It also has a drawing room, another living room, a family room, a library, a dining room, and a big chef’s kitchen equipped with professional-grade appliances. There are also two decks. On the upper level, you'll find four large bedrooms, a den, two offices or art studios, two powder rooms, three fireplaces, a laundry room, and a basement.
As it says on the website: "This is Red Gate Farm, the estate of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. It is a tranquil, utterly private, 340-acre sanctuary with more than a mile of Atlantic Ocean beachfront at the edge of Squibnocket Pond on the undeveloped southwestern tip of Martha’s Vineyard. It is an ecological treasury of windswept dunes, freshwater ponds, heath, and wetlands. Its environmental value can never be replicated or its provenance rivaled."
Her Taste for Fashion
As the wife of the President, Jackie couldn’t afford to step out of the White House carelessly dressed. Although she was used to being classy and presentable, being the First Lady was another thing. She commissioned Oleg Cassini, an infamous French-American fashion designer at that time. He made her a special collection that would be used on her official appearances as the First Lady of the United States. Aside from her inclination to Parisian designs, she also commissioned American tailors to complement her impeccable wardrobe. Jackie became an instant fashion icon not only in America but in the whole world.
What made everything somehow concerning was the amount spent on her wardrobe. Just in the first year, she spent more than $145,000 on her fashion collection. Her husband, the President, was only making an average of $100,000 a year.
Official Visits to Other Countries
Politicians travel a lot and Jackie made the most out of it. She went to multiple countries on official visits, with or without the President. Her critics at that time doubted her abilities to pull off her meetings with powerful leaders of other countries. However, Jackie proved them wrong. With her skills and ability to speak and understand foreign languages, she was soon recognized as a strong figure among foreign dignitaries.
One of the most memorable state visits was the one she made to France accompanied by her husband. Prior to the trip, she prepared a brief documentary on the White House Lawn. The entire short film was conducted in French. During the trip, Jackie won the admiration and respect of the French public with her knowledge of the language as well as the country’s history. The Time magazine covered the entire trip and even made a controversial comment, referring to JFK as the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris. Fortunately, the President didn’t take the comment as an offense and even bragged that he enjoyed it. However, Jackie’s impressive performance on international lands didn’t end there.
Earning the Admiration of the Soviet Leader
Continuing their political trips, Jackie accompanied JFK to Austria to meet Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. When the time came for a photo op, the Soviet Leader requested if he could shake the hand of the First Lady, before the President himself.
Jackie’s charm contributed a lot to the meeting and they went home successful. Khrushchev even sent them a gift of gratitude, a puppy that was the offspring of Stella, one of the dogs that had been sent by the Russians into space.
The Mistress of International Diplomacy
During JFK’s presidency, Jackie had almost traveled the whole world. She had been to Afghanistan, Austria, India, Canada, Pakistan, England, Colombia, Greece, Morocco, Turkey, Mexico, Italy, and Venezuela.
Aside from French, Jackie was also fluent in Spanish. Because she had the ability to address the Latin American public using their own language, she had easily won their attention and respect. But that was not the end of her master classes in international negotiations.
The Real Score Between Jackie and the Queen
A fictionalized version of the real meeting that happened between Jackie and Queen Elizabeth II can be seen on the second season of "The Crown", a popular series on Netflix. The first scene showed the Queen and the First Lady sharing an intimate moment as they were touring the Buckingham Palace.
However, on the next scene, Jackie was back in America and, while at a dinner party, she began telling that the Queen was just a middle-aged woman who was unintelligent, unremarkable, and incurious. Jackie’s character even said that Britain’s Palace was a reduced place and the decors were disappointing. She even compared it to a second-rate provincial hotel. When Queen Elizabeth heard about Jackie’s rants, she had a few words to answer, "Well, we must have her back again soon." But the question is, did the exchange happen in real life, or was it just a product of the creative minds of the showrunners?
The Queen Versus the First Lady
While it can be said that the series’ depiction of historical events is fictional, some parts of it were based on reality. Queen Elizabeth II gave Jackie a private tour at Buckingham Palace and it seemed that the two women in power both understood each other. When Jackie opened a topic about her getting used to being a public figure, the Queen’s meaningful response was, that “One gets crafty after a while and learns how to save oneself.”
A year later, Jackie visited a family member in London. When the Queen got the word, she invited her to lunch. Jackie even told the press how grateful she felt for being in the presence of a charming Queen.
The Memorial Dedication of the Queen
Years after the said lunch at Buckingham Palace, Jackie would see the Queen again. However, it was during a tough time, when her husband was assassinated. The Queen wanted to pay her respects to the late president by opening a U.K Memorial at Runnymede, Berkshire. This is the site where Magna Carta had been sealed.
The Queen was swept over by the news and told the people that the wave of grief had unprecedented intensity. In the memorial dedication, the Queen recognized the accomplishments of President Kennedy and also acknowledged the high hopes that rode with him.
Finding an Escape?
Jackie had the confidence and the skills to go on state visits, either with or without her husband. Being the apple of the eye of the press, it was hard to keep it secret that their relationship was falling apart. The rift between the couple continued to grow and Jackie’s travel was seen by the press as her way of avoiding her husband.
The distance seemed to grow bigger and bigger and clearly, their relationship was on the rocks. One specific event even caused a terrible blow to their union.
Marilyn Monroe and JFK
As a well-loved President, a huge fundraising event for the Democratic Party was held on May 19, 1962. It was ten days before the 45th birthday of JFK. The party was set at the third Madison Square Garden with over 15,000 guests in attendance. Despite her husband being the guest of honor, the First Lady decided not to go.
It was on that day Marilyn Monroe delivered the timeless “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” song. Wearing a skin-tight dress and singing in her most seductive voice, her simple greeting became an iconic rendition. It was a terrible event for Jackie, to see her husband flirting with the world's biggest sex icon while millions of people were watching and the press was enjoying. It was like losing her dignity and once again, she decided to file a divorce.
Tragedy Strikes Again
In 1963, Jackie spent most of her time in Massachusetts, pregnant and away from her husband. She was nearing delivery when a tragedy stroke again. She gave birth via C-section to a premature baby boy. However, due to early labor, the doctors found out that her son’s lungs were undeveloped. Immediately, the baby was flown to Boston to receive emergency treatment at the Children Hospital. Jackie had to stay in a nearby Air Force base hospital because she had yet to recuperate.
The President flew right away to Boston to attend to their child. However, the baby, whom they had named Patrick, passed away a few days later. Unfortunately, Jackie was not by his side.
United by Grief
Despite having personal problems as husband and wife, Jackie and John understood each other. The death of their son, Patrick Bovier Kennedy, was another heartbreak that they would nurse for a very long time. In those times of grief, the couple found themselves getting strength from each other.
Arthur Schlesinger, a presidential historian, wrote in his articles that the period of grief had put the couple closer to each other than ever before. The President had always considered Jackie with genuine affection and pride. Those months of 1963 were viewed by the people around the couple as the most solid part of their relationship as husband and wife. Such was the feeling of understanding that Jackie momentarily forgot the thought of divorce.
Reviving Their Marriage
Discovering how badly they still needed each other, reconciliations were made. Jackie agreed to live with her husband and once again, decided to accompany him on a political trip. On November 21, 1963, they were bound to Texas where they would meet the members of the Democratic Party to solidify JFK’s relationship within the party.
The couple had a quick breakfast at Forth Worth before boarding Air Force One. They landed at Dallas' Love Field airport where John Connally, the Governor of Texas, and his wife were waiting. Together, they made their way to Dallas’ Trade Mart on the presidential limousine. Kennedy was expected to give a speech at a formal lunch.
The Assassination of a President
On the second day of their Texas political trip, November 22, 1963, at exactly 12:30 PM, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was shot dead. The bullets were fired by a lone gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald. The assassin was a former U.S. Marine.
The sudden death of the president shocked the whole world. On that day, political and social processes seemed to stop for a while. But for Jackie, the wave of the tragedy came too soon.
Jackie Wanted the World to See
John F. Kennedy was shot in the head while her wife was sitting next to him. Jackie’s dress was covered with the blood of her husband. Despite the commotion, a Secret Service agent had the chance to offer her a fresh set of clothes. However, the First Lady refused. She was firm on wearing her bloodstained dress. She said that she wanted the world to see what had been done to JFK.
Even when she boarded Air Force One to witness the oath-taking of Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, she was still wearing her bloodstained clothing.
According to an interview conducted by Life magazine, Jackie Kennedy described JFK’s presidential moments as Camelot. She equated the ruling of his husband to the realm and symbol of the Arthurian world.
Jackie wanted America to always remember that once, even for a brief moment, there was the shining era known as Camelot. For Jackie, there would be great presidents again, but there would never be another Camelot.
Despite the grief and agony, Jackie remained strong in the face of this crisis. She led the arrangement of her husband’s funeral. JFK’s funeral was modeled after Abraham Lincoln's service.
The First Lady led the procession on foot and even requested an eternal flame. For the strength Jackie had shown, Lady Jeanne Campbell, who was reporting for The London Evening Standard, wrote, "Jacqueline Kennedy has given the American people… one thing they have always lacked: Majesty."
Offers She Declined
After the tragic assassination and period of grief and mourning, President Johnson felt the need to do something nice for the amazing lady. He knew that France was dear to Jackie and he offered her the role of Ambassador of the country, but Jackie refused.
The President offered two other roles; Ambassador of Mexico and the U.K, but Jackie refused both as well. She wanted only one thing and that was to rename the Florida space center as "John F. Kennedy Space Center". Her request was granted a week after the assassination of his husband.
Still Active in Politics
Jackie had been able to carry out successful political works alone even in the past. After JFK’s passing, she remained in the world of politics. She accompanied the former British ambassador of the U.S. to Cambodia and helped settle and strengthen Cambodian-US relations.
Despite the obvious trauma caused by his husband’s assassination, Jackie remained strong and even attended Martin Luther King Jr.'s funeral in 1960.
Jackie’s Closest Friend and Confidante
Robert “Bob” Kennedy was the brother of JFK. He had always been close to his sister-in-law, consoling her through thick and thin. Bob was there when Jackie had her miscarriages and never left her side when she was mourning. The press even started a rumor that after JFK’s death, the friendship had evolved into something more.
When the political advisors of Robert Kennedy found out that President Johnson was performing poorly in the poll numbers, they convinced Bob to run for the presidency. However, his only response was, "That depends on what Jackie wants me to do."
Knowing Bob and his capabilities, Jackie gave her full support to his candidacy. She was confident and optimistic that another Kennedy would become the President of the United States.
Jackie never expected that she was to deal with the unbearable pain of loss once again after the death of her husband.
Robert Kennedy successfully won the favor of the Democratic Party. The victorious Senator was chosen as the standard-bearer. However, on June 5, 1968, just minutes after the celebration, the Senator was gunned down by Sirhan Sirhan.
Bob was rushed to the hospital to receive emergency treatment. Jackie was in Manhattan when it happened. When she heard the words about the tragedy, she rushed to the L.A hospital. However, the Senator’s injuries were severe and he passed away 26 hours after he was shot.
Her Second Marriage
Another period of mourning had to be endured by Jackie Kennedy. Slowly, she retreated from the complex world of politics. In 1968, she made headlines once again by marrying Aristotle Onassis, a Greek shipping magnate, and a billionaire. He was Jackie’s long-time friend.
For years, Jackie Kennedy Onassis took refuge on her second husband’s private island in the Mediterranean Sea.
Life as Mrs. Onassis
Jackie went on to live on a private island with her children. She retired from the life she had learned to love and felt safe in his husband’s Greek haven. However, she made sure that her kids wouldn’t lose connection with the family of his first husband. Uncle Ted, the youngest brother of John, visited them on the island. Jackie and Ted soon became close friends.
Jackie stayed with Aristotle, subsequently moving between Greece, Paris, and New York. However, his husband was deeply affected when he lost his 24-year-old son, Alexander, in a plane crash. Aristotle’s health deteriorated and he passed away two years later. In the mid-‘70s, Jackie decided to go home for good.
Rest in Peace, Eternal First Lady
Jackie went on to live a healthy life and away from the press. However, in 1993, she was thrown off a horse. Despite her age, she had never given up the hobby she learned to love as a little girl. The injury led to other health complications and, in 1994, Jackie had her last breath due to non-Hodgkin lymphoma - she was 64. She was survived by her loving children, Caroline and John Jr., as well as her three grandchildren.
Surpassed only by Queen Elizabeth II and Billy Graham in Gallup's statistics, Jackie Kennedy Onassis is considered one of the most popular figures of the late 20th century.