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Rose Kennedy, wife of newly-appointed American ambassador to Great Britain, Joseph Kennedy, is shown at center with two of her daughters, Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy (l) and Rosemary, at their 1938 presentation at Buckingham Palace. Kathleen's 1944 marriage to Billy Harrington, the Marquess of Hartington, an Anglican, infuriated the intensely Catholic Rose Kennedy, who refused to attend the wedding. Widowed just four months later, Kathleen fell in love with a very married man, Peter Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, 8th Earl Fitzwilliam, and became his mistress. Rose was further incensed - because he, like Billy, wasn't a Catholic. Over her mother's objections, Kathleen and Peter planned to wed after his divorce. Instead, in a 1948 trip to the south of France, they both died in a plane crash. No one but Kathleen Kennedy Cavendish's father, Joseph P. Kennedy, attended her funeral in Devonshire, England, in the Cavendish family plot. It has been said that Rose Kennedy discouraged Kathleen's eight surviving siblings from attending the service of their sister.

Rose Kennedy, wife of newly-appointed American ambassador to Great Britain, Joseph Kennedy, is shown at center with two of her daughters, Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy (l) and Rosemary Kennedy, at their 1938 presentation at Buckingham Palace. Kathleen's lively personality made her a great hit among the British social set. In 1944, Kathleen made what many considered a brilliant marriage to William "Billy" Harrington, the Marquess of Hartington, the heir to the 10th Duke of Devonshire. Kathleen became the Marchioness of Harrington. Her mother, however, was incensed that Kathleen would marry an Anglican and refused to attend the wedding ceremony. Only Kathleen's eldest brother, Joe Kennedy, Jr., attended. Then, four months later, Billy was killed in the war and Kathleen became a widow. It wasn't long before Kathleen was back in the social whirl of London parties and country estate weekends, and with a new man - a married man. He was Peter Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, 8th Earl Fitzwilliam. Kathleen fell madly for him and publicly became his mistress. Rose was furious - but not why you think. She was incensed because Peter - like Kathleen's first husband, Billy - was an Anglican and not a Catholic. Nevertheless, over her mother's objections, Kathleen planned to wed Peter after his divorce, Catholic or not. Their wedding never came about. In a 1948 trip to the south of France, both Peter and Kathleen died in an airplane crash. Still furious with Kathleen, Rose Kennedy did not attend her daughter's funeral and discouraged Kathleen's eight surviving siblings from attending. Only Kathleen's father, Joseph P. Kennedy, attended her funeral service. Kathleen Kennedy Cavendish was buried in the Cavendish family plot in Devonshire, England. There her body remains today.

Factbox: Kennedy Political Dynasty Marked By Tragedy

By REUTERS
Published: August 26, 2009

(Compiled from Web sites by the World Desk Americas)

The lives of Kennedy family members, noted for their extraordinary accomplishments, have also been marked by tragedy, including the assassinations of President John Kennedy and of Senator Robert Kennedy.

Following is a chronology of some of the tragedies that befell the storied U.S. political dynasty:

1941: Rosemary Kennedy, (pictured here), the oldest daughter of Joseph and Rose Kennedy, who was mentally disabled, was institutionalized for the rest of her life after a lobotomy reduced her abilities. She died in 2005.

Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. (c) with 2 of his 4 sons: Joe Kennedy, Jr. (l) and John F. Kennedy

Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. (c) with 2 of his 4 sons: Joe Kennedy, Jr. (l) and John F. Kennedy

1944: Joseph Kennedy Jr., the oldest of the nine Kennedy children, died at age 29 in a plane crash over the English Channel during World War Two while flying a mission.

1948: Kathleen Kennedy Cavendish, the fourth of the Kennedy children, was killed in a plane crash in France at age 28.

1963: President John Kennedy was assassinated on November 22 while riding in a presidential motorcade with his wife in Dallas, Texas, at age 46.

1964: Senator Edward Kennedy, the youngest in the family, narrowly escaped death in a plane crash that killed an aide.

1968: Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated on June 5 in Los Angeles at age 42, just after he won California’s Democratic presidential primary election.

1969: Edward Kennedy drove off a bridge on his way home from a party on Chappaquiddick Island in Massachusetts. An aide in the car with him, Mary Jo Kopechne, died in the accident.

1984: David Kennedy, a son of Robert, died of a drug overdose at age 28.

1997: Another of Robert Kennedy’s sons, Michael, died in a skiing accident in Aspen, Colorado, at age 39.

1999: John Kennedy Jr. along with his wife and sister-in-law were killed when the plane he was flying crashed in the waters off Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.

For more on the Kennedys, scroll down the right sidebar in “Categories – People – the Kennedys.”

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Carolyn King Waller

Carolyn King Waller

Lisa: Carolyn, today let’s dish on Ethel Kennedy. What were you telling me about her anger?

Bobby Kennedy California Primary Victory Party at the L.A. Ambassador Hotel, June 5, 1968, the night of his assassination

Bobby Kennedy California Primary Victory Party at the L.A. Ambassador Hotel, June 5, 1968, the night of his assassination

Carolyn: She loved Bobby so. She urged him to run for the presidency in 1968 and then, of course, he was assassinated. Jackie (Kennedy) had said that the same thing that had happened to Jack (murder) would happen to Bobby, but Ethel wouldn’t listen, and Jackie was right. But Ethel was the chief component in having Bobby run. She was extremely ambitious for Bobby. When Bobby started to run, Jackie said, “Oh, we’ll be in the White House again!”
And Ethel said, “Who is this we?”
Ethel’s anger was displaced when Bobby died. She was more Kennedy than Kennedy. Kennedys were always told not to show anything but courage to the outside world. Ethel couldn’t show the world that she was in private anguish over the loss of her beloved Bobby after he died. So she had displaced anger that she vented on her oldest sons: Joseph, Bobby Jr., and David – David had a drug problem but that had a lot of reasons to it. Bobby Jr. and Joseph got the worst of her wrath.
She pretty much let those kids run wild. She made them not want to be at home because she was raging. They became homeless in Hyannisport and Hickory Hill. They didn’t have a place to sleep at home. She sent them away the summer Bobby died. They were unwelcome at Ethel’s house. Some of the Kennedy elders kept their children away from Ethel’s kids because they were so wild. Ethel lived an unexamined life.

Lisa: Explain.

Carolyn: She never said I’m so angry, I’m so sad. She whaled into her older sons. She beat them with a hair brush. She sublimated her sadness. She had a black rage. For example, years earlier, when she found out that (actor) Paul Newman had become a supporter of Kenneth Keating of New York, a rival of Bobby Kennedy’s, she got mad. On a pretext, she invited Paul to play a friendly game of tennis with her.

Paul Newman

Paul Newman

LaDonna Harris witnessed the match:
“From the moment they got on the court, Ethel wouldn’t let up on Paul. Ethel has an unhealthy kind of competitiveness, a masculine kind of meanness. She told him he was a lousy player. She teased him nonstop….He just didn’t know how to deal with it. He finally walked off the court. He had tears in his eyes.” (1)

Carolyn: Ethel had a quirky sense of humor. She used live frogs for centerpieces at her dinner parties. People got pushed into swimming pools at her parties.

Bobby and Ethel Kennedy

Bobby and Ethel Kennedy

I think she called Lyndon Johnson Uncle Cornpone. I think she looked for weaknesses in others and then hurt them with it. I think the whole point here is that Ethel had displaced anger, her early years – she grew up in an atmosphere of too much liquor, bad upbringing – they let them run wild. They drove fast. Had a lot of money. She was ruthless. Bobby, too. But he was kinder. He liked children and animals. But not Ethel. She was cruel. Bobby was spiritual. He had a good side; he was a fine father. His kids somewhat fell apart when he died because they needed his nurturing. Bobby was the nurturer; that’s it.

(1) Oppenheimer, Jerry. The Other Mrs. Kennedy. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994)

To read more on the Kennedys on this site, scroll down the right sidebar to “Categories – People – Kennedys.”

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