Jackie O.'s niece wants her aunt's letters back.

Jackie Kennedy's niece calls for the return of the priest letters


Jackie O.'s niece wants her aunt's letters back.

A niece of Jackie Kennedy has called for some of the collection of letters written by by her aunt to an elderly Irish priest - and recently withdrawn from auction - to be returned to her famous family.

Rory Kennedy, the youngest of the 11 children of Senator Bobby and Ethel Kennedy, said her aunt had written some "wonderful letters", many of which should be shared.

Ms. Kennedy is visiting Ireland, her ancestral home, for the first time with her husband, Mark, and the couple's three children.

And yesterday (Tues) during a visit to the University of Limerick, she gave her first public reaction about the letters, which were penned between 1950 and 1964 to Fr. Joseph Leonard, a Vincentian priest, who lived in All Hallows [Vincentian-run college] in Drumcondra, north Dublin.

She said:  "I think some of them need to be back with the family.  I think it's a question of choosing and selecting them a little bit more and having a little bit more control over that."

Earlier this month, All Hallows said the letters were "being withdrawn from auction" at the direction of the college and the Vincentian Fathers.

Chiefs of the college pledged to explore "with members of Mrs Kennedy's family how best to preserve and curate this archive for the future".

But Ms. Kennedy said:  "I think that Jackie wrote some wonderful letters and people wrote lovely letters to Jackie and I think a lot of those letters are really beautiful and express a certain time and era, so I think it's nice to share some of those."

The Irish Independent also notes that Ms. Kennedy spoke about her career as a humanitarian documentary film-maker during her trip to Limerick.

Commenting on her latest project, she said:  "I was asked to make this film 'Ethel' about my mother...my executives were quite insistent and then my mother - it turned out - was open to it.

"I thought since she's open to it I should do it, because I don't think she would tell her story otherwise and I was pretty confident about that.  I am now happy that I did it."

And when quizzed about the infamous 'Kennedy curse', she added:  "Every family struggles and every family has had loss and sadness.  I think ours is more public and there has certainly been a number of tragic events."


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