Presented to the King

Here’s a photograph from the May 19 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of the wife of the United States ambassador to Britain and two of her daughters.

Both Kathleen Kennedy – later Kathleen Cavendish, the Marchioness of Hartington – and Rosemary Kennedy led tragic lives, though of different sorts. Kathleen, nicknamed “Kick”, saw her husband killed in action in 1944, and then passed away in a plane crash in 1948. Rosemary, who struggled with developmental disabilities and possibly depression, was lobotomized in 1941 and lived in an institution for the rest of her life; she passed away in 2005.

Three of their brothers became well-known politicians. John became President of the United States in 1960 and was assassinated in 1963. Robert became John’s attorney general and was himself assassinated in 1968. Ted, the youngest child of the family, became a long-serving member of the United States Senate.

Their father, Joseph Kennedy (1888-1969), made a fortune in the stock market, liquor importing, and real estate. In the late 1920s, he had a three-year affair with actress Gloria Swanson. He was appointed the first head of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 1934. From 1938 to 1940, he was the United States ambassador to Britain, becoming known first as a supporter of appeasement of Germany and later for his defeatist attitude about the war.

Rose Kennedy (1890-1995) lived to be 104 years old, outliving five of her nine children. She was a homemaker and was involved in charitable work and women’s groups. At one time, she appeared on the International Best Dressed List.

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