Saturday, February 20, 2016


JFK+50:  Volume 6, No. 1865


Brookline, Massachusetts (JFK+50) Kathleen Agnes 'Kick' Kennedy, the younger and favorite sister of future President John F. Kennedy, was born 96 years ago today, February 20, 1920, here in Brookline.

Kathleen was the second daughter and fourth child of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. and was called 'Kick' by everyone except her mother.  She attended Riverdale County School and Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Kathleen's nickname, according to her great niece, namesake and daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, came from the fact that she was "a lot of fun...a kick."

Kick was a London debutante in May 1938 when her father was ambassador to Great Britain and became a Red Cross volunteer during World War II.  

Against the wishes of her mother, Kick married a Protestant,  William Cavendish, the Marquess of Hartington, on May 6, 1944.    The marriage was confirmed in a civil ceremony with the only other Kennedy in attendance being Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.

Again according to her great niece, "Marrying outside the church was probably the worst meant living in mortal sin and eventually going to hell."  Lynn McTaggart writes..."(Kick) was the only rebel of the family."
Kick's husband, Billy Hartington, was killed by a German sniper just four months after their marriage on September 10, 1944.

After the war, Kathleen fell in love with still another Protestant, the rich Peter Fitzwilliam but the couple, flying from London to the French Riviera,  died tragically in a crash on May 13, 1948. 

Kathleen Cavendish, Marchioness of Hartington, is buried in a small churchyard in Edensor, England.  The gravesite was visited by her brother Jack, the President of the United States, in 1963 just 5 months before his death.

In the recent television episode of "Million Dollar American Princesses*," on the Smithsonian Channel, Kick's great niece, Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy says...

"The times (Kick) lived in necessitated bravery and a strong ability to carry on in the face of tragedy.  Her decisions were informed by her own moral compass, not that of her parents or society."

*This episode is titled "Beautiful and Doomed" & was first aired on Jan 17 2016.  The next airing is scheduled for Mar 3 from 12-1 p.m.  The program is described as "three American heiresses who married into European nobility and lived troubled lives."  The two other subjects are Barbara Hutton & Clara Ward.


"JFK's forgotten free-spirited sister was the most cursed of all," by Barbara Hoffman, January 16, 2016,

"Kathleen Kennedy: Her Life and Times," by Lynne McTaggart, Holt Rinehart and Winston, New York, 1983.

"The forgotten Kennedy," by Kelly McLaughlin, January 16, 2016,

"The Kennedy Curse," by Edward Klein, St. Martin's Press, New York, 2003.

Kathleen Kennedy
London, England
JFK Library Photo (1943)