Jackie Kennedy (Onassis) with her first husband, US President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
Jackie Kennedy (Onassis) with her first husband, US President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Jackie Kennedy's secret love revealed

WITH a widow's grief as her armour, Jackie Kennedy's secret and tender romance with David Ormsby Gore, the British ambassador to Washington during President Kennedy's era, was long considered a myth.

The recent discovery of two dispatch boxes of personal letters of Ormsby Gore, the 5th Lord Harlech, which have stayed hidden since his death in 1985, reveal the love between the two and the anguish Jackie felt when she made the decision to instead marry Aristotle Onassis.

The 18 handwritten and one typed letters from Jackie Kennedy to Ormsby Gore cover her days from the assassination of her husband, President Kennedy, until her marriage to Onassis in October 1968.

The letters finally prove a very close relationship existed between Jackie and Harlech, which deepened during 1967 after the death of his wife in a car accident.

At the time, Jackie wrote to him: "Your last letter was such a cri de coeur of loneliness. I would do anything to take that anguish from you. You want to patch the wounds and match the loose pairs, but you can't because your life won't turn out that way".

During the following months the two spent increasing amounts of time in each other's company and in February, 1968, Harlech proposed marriage.

It was not to be, as Harlech shed tears over Jackie's decision to marry Onassis.

 

Unseen Jackie Kennedy letters to the British aristocrat Lord Harlech revealed for first time, will be auctioned at Bonhams UK in March.
Unseen Jackie Kennedy letters to the British aristocrat Lord Harlech revealed for first time, will be auctioned at Bonhams UK in March. Bonhams UK

His pained response to her decision was heart-breaking.

"All the pathetic plans I had brought with me for visits to Cyrenaica, holidays near one another and a whole variety of solutions to our marriage problem, including one for a secret marriage this summer, plans which I saw us eagerly discussing, calmly and with complete frankness as we did at the Cape and in Cambodia for the next wonderful 10 days - all had become irrelevant trash to be thrown away within a few hours of my landing in New York.

"As for your photograph, I weep when I look at it. Why do such agonising things have to happen? Where was the need for it?

"I have tried for hours and hours to understand your explanation and I suppose I do in a way, without agreeing with it; but what I find unbearable and in a way, dearest Jackie, untrue is that you could come to such a categorical conclusion..."

Her response was as tender as it was firm.

"We have known so much and shared and lost so much together. Even if it isn't the way you wish now, I hope that bond of love and pain will never be cut... You are like my beloved brother and mentor and the only original spirit I know, as you were to Jack."

In the final letter written from Onassis's yacht Christina, Jackie explained to Harlech why she had married the billionaire Greek shipping magnate.

"You and I have shared so many lives and deaths and hopes and pain. We will share them forever and be forever bound together by them... If ever I can find some healing and some comfort, it has to be with someone who is not a part of all my world of past and pain. I can find that now if the world will let us."

The boxes also included significant personal correspondence from President Kennedy and from British Prime Ministers, Harold Macmillan, Sir Alec Douglas-Home and Harold Wilson.

Bonhams UK have estimated the value of the connection between £100,000 and 150,000 and will auction them on March 29, at the company's Bond Street office in London.


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