Jackie Kennedy wrote several letters to an Irish priest over several years describing both the joys and fears of being married to the most powerful man in the world, her husband President Kennedy. She revealed her anguish at the way he flirted with other women.
The collection of letters, which span from 1950 up until 1964, give an incredible insight into her marriage to the president and the battle with her faith she suffered after her husband’s death.
Mrs Kennedy was a devout Catholic and a long-time friend of Father Joseph Leonard of Dublin. The two shared a 14-year correspondence and the previously unpublished letters have now been unearthed. They were sold at auction recently in Co Laois.
Auctioneer Philip Sheppard described them as: “The dream find of a lifetime for an auctioneer. 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.”
The communication began when Kennedy was in her early twenties, and she describes the thrill of her relationship with the up-and coming politician: “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.”
Mrs Kennedy also compared the president to her father, and was wary of entering into a relationship like that of her parents. Mrs Kennedy told Father Leonard: “He’s like my father in a way – loves the chase and is bored with the conquest – and once married needs proof he’s still attractive, so flirts with other women and resents you. I saw how that nearly killed Mummy.”
However, she did reveal that after a year as the President’s wife, things had improved: “I love being married much more than I did even in the beginning.”
Mrs Kennedy turned to Father Leonard for help after her husband was assassinated in 1963. Struggling with her 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.”
The letters provide a valuable insight into Mrs Kennedy and her marriage to the President. During her life she was always protective of her relationship and life as America’s First Lady.
The letters were sold for an undisclosed figure, thought to be more than €1million.