Jackie Kennedy asked a Dublin college for copies of her private letters to Irish priest Fr Joseph Leonard – but never sought their return.

America’s former First Lady even offered to bequeath the letters she received in reply to the All Hallows college.

The report also says that her daughter Caroline has sought legal advice on who owns the copyright to the letters.

The paper reports that Kennedy was aware that her letters to Irish priest Fr Joseph Leonard had been kept by the Dublin seminary after his death in 1964.

She had discovered in separate correspondence she had with former Fine Gael Prime Minister John A Costello in 1966 that Fr Leonard had ‘saved his letters.’

The cash-strapped college recently canceled plans to auction off the letters, which were written over a 14-year period after Jackie met the priest when visiting Ireland as a student in 1950.

The Irish Times says Kennedy did not seek either the return of the letters or their destruction.

She did ask the soon-to-close Dublin college if she could get copies to recall ‘so many things I had forgotten.’

She also wanted them ‘for my children one day’ and told the college that she had kept ‘all’ of Fr Leonard’s letters to her and ‘would love to match them up side by side’ to show her children.

The Irish Times says it has learned that Costello facilitated the request and copies were sent to her in New York in 1967.

The report adds that Kennedy told her daughter Caroline, then aged 10, about her friendship with Fr Leonard.

She read extracts to her from one of the letters and Jackie was ‘so happy to see the effect on her – hearing how much she was loved and how much she was like her father.’

Caroline Kennedy made no attempt to recover the letters from All Hallows after Jackie’s death in 1994.

The paper adds that Jackie Kennedy was ‘deeply moved’ that the seminary was looking after the letters. She offered to bequeath to All Hallows the letters that Fr Leonard had written to her.

It is believed that Caroline Kennedy, now the US ambassador to Japan, and her husband Edwin Schlossberg have retained a Dublin law firm to assert their copyright of the content of the letters.

The Irish Times report says the Vincentian Order has declined to comment on its plan for the letters.