A fascinating insight into the life and thoughts of Jackie Kennedy has come to light in a series of revealing letters to a Dublin priest which are to be auctioned in Ireland next month.
The paper reports that the letters reveal her thoughts about her marriage to President John F Kennedy, their life in the White House and her reaction to his assassination.
Jackie Kennedy wrote to Fr Leonard, a Vincentian priest at the All Hallows residence in Dublin, over a 14 year timespan before and after she became First Lady.
The letters have only recently been discovered and are to be sold at auction next month.
The Irish Times reports that in the previously unpublished letters, Jackie tells Fr Leonard how Kennedy, who was then a rising star in American politics, was consumed by ambition ‘like Macbeth’.
In a letter dated July 1952, she told Fr Leonard that her time with JFK had given her ‘an amazing insight on politicians – they really are a breed apart’.
A year later, when still only 23, she confided to Fr Leonard: “Maybe I’m just dazzled and picture myself in a glittering world of crowned heads and Men of Destiny– and not just a sad little housewife . . .
“That world can be very glamorous from the outside – but if you’re in it - and you’re lonely - it could be a Hell.”
After a year of marriage to JFK, she wrote to Fr Leonard and told him: “I love being married much more than I did even in the beginning.”
The assassination of JFK in 1963 did cause Jackie Kennedy to question her faith according to the letters.
She confided to Fr Leonard how she became ‘bitter against God’ and struggled to find comfort in her deep Catholic faith.
She wrote: “I have to think there is a God - or I have no hope of finding Jack again. God will have a bit of explaining to do to me if I ever see Him.”
In the letters, Jackie also offers a fascinating insight into her relations with New York stockbroker John Husted whom she was engaged to be married to in January 1952 before breaking off the relationship.
She wrote to Fr Leonard that she was: “So terribly much in love - for the first time - and I want to get married. And I KNOW I will marry this boy. I don’t have to think and wonder - as I always have before - if they are the right one, how we’d get along etc.
“I just KNOW he is and it’s the deepest happiest feeling in the world.”
Jackie Kennedy broke off the engagement just three months before the wedding.
The paper reports that two months later she broke the news to Fr Leonard when she wrote: “I’m ashamed that we both went into it so quickly and gaily but I think the suffering it brought us both for a while afterwards was the best thing - we both need something of a shock to make us grow up.
“I don’t know if John has - I haven’t seen him and I don’t really want to, not out of meanness - it’s just better if that all dies away & we forget we knew each other - but I know it’s grown me up and it’s about time! The next time will be ALL RIGHT and have a happy ending!”
By then, the paper adds, John F Kennedy - a rising star in Washington DC’s political circles - had caught her eye.
The Irish Times reports that the letters are of major importance as JFK’s wife didn’t publish an autobiography and no memoir appeared after her death in 1994 at the age of 64.
Sheppard’s Irish Auction House in Durrow, Co Laois, has been commissioned to sell the collection of letters.
Spokesman Philip Sheppard told the paper: “The letters are the dream find of a lifetime for an auctioneer and they include simply astounding fresh insights that transform our understanding of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.
“They are, in effect, her autobiography for the years 1950-1964.”
Sheppard expects the archive will sell in an auction on June 10th for well in excess of $1.3million.
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