Kathleen Cavendish, Marchioness of Hartington


Kathleen Cavendish, Marchioness of Hartington

Kathleen Cavendish, Marchioness of Hartington (February 20, 1920 – May 13, 1948), born Kathleen Agnes Kennedy, was the second daughter of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Fitzgerald. She was a sister of U.S. President John F. Kennedy and widow of the heir to the Devonshire dukedom.

Biography

When President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Joseph Kennedy ambassador to the Court of St. James's, his daughter Kathleen spent a year and a half living in London. She was educated in London at Queen's College. Beautiful and spirited, she was named the "most exciting debutante of 1938." In 1943 she returned to England to work in a center for servicemen set up by the Red Cross. Despite the opposition of her intensely Catholic mother, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, Kathleen Kennedy, known to friends as "Kick", married William John Robert Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington, a Protestant and the eldest son and heir of the 10th Duke of Devonshire on May 6, 1944. Other than her eldest brother Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., no one from the Kennedy family attended the marriage ceremony. Her husband was killed in action only four months later in World War II, and his younger brother Andrew Cavendish, married to Deborah Mitford, became the heir to the dukedom.

Popular on the London social circuit and admired by many for her high spirits — though more traditional members of British society found fault with her boisterousness — the dashing young widow eventually became the mistress of Peter Wentworth-FitzWilliam, 8th Earl FitzWilliam. [Bailey, C (2007). "Black Diamonds: The Rise and Fall of an English Dynasty", pp406-419. London: Penguin. ISBN 0-670-91542-2] The couple planned to wed after Fitzwilliam's planned divorce. Instead, while on a trip to visit Joseph Kennedy Sr. and gain his blessing for their relationship, Lord Fitzwilliam and Lady Hartington died in an airplane crash in Saint-Bauzile, Ardèche, France.

Only her father represented the Kennedy family at her funeral. Her mother, Rose, declined to attend supposedly because of Kathleen's intention to marry outside the Catholic church. It is also said that Rose Kennedy also discouraged Kathleen's siblings from attending for the same reasonFact|date=September 2007. Rose apparently forgave Kathleen not long thereafter, and in 1951, she was reportedly delighted that her first grandchild, Robert F. Kennedy's daughter, Kathleen Hartington Kennedy, was named after her late daughter, but the family requested that the child not be nicknamed "Kick". However, Kathleen Alexandra Kennedy (b. 1988), daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., does share with her late great-aunt the "Kick" nickname.

The Marchioness of Hartington is buried in the Cavendish family plot at Saint Peter's Church, Edensor, near Chatsworth in Derbyshire, England. Among the wreaths that covered her coffin was one with a handwritten note from Sir Winston ChurchillFact|date=September 2007. The gymnasium at Manhattanville College is named in her honor.

Popular Culture

A telefilm about Kathleen Kennedy, "The Girl On a Bicycle", is currently in production. [ [http://www.stagescreenproductions.com/dev.htm The Girl On A Bicycle: The Kathleen Kennedy Story - Telefilm] ]

References

* "Kathleen Kennedy: Her Life and Times" by Lynne McTaggart (1983) ISBN 0-385-27415-7

ee also

* Kennedy Curse

External links

*findagrave|3491|Kathleen Cavendish


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