During her tenure as First Lady, Jacqueline “Jackie” Kennedy rose to become one of the most adored First Ladies in history. The Southampton, New York native was married to John F. Kennedy, who at the time was the youngest president to ever assume office, and to everyone looking on from the outside, their union appeared to be a true love tale.
When John F. Kennedy was fatally assassinated in Dallas, Texas, in November 1963, everything was forever altered. Jacqueline, or “Jackie,” as she was more well known, had to adjust to a completely new life and would eventually remarry.
Even though Jackie Kennedy enjoyed enormous popularity, many details of her existence in the White House were unknown. Despite the public’s love for her, there were concerns about how she would interact with people on an average day.
Her former bodyguard, Clint Hill, shared fresh details about Jacqueline and what it was like to serve her in a private interview with the JFK Presidential Library and Museum.
But first, let’s examine Jackie Kennedy’s life in more detail.
Her parents, John Vernon Bouvier III and Janet Lee, welcomed her into the world as Jacqueline Lee Bouvier on July 28, 1929, in Southampton, New York.
The Bouvier family was affluent, and her father was a stockbroker. At a very young age, Jackie became interested in riding, writing, and painting. She was riding a horse’s back almost as soon as she learned to walk.
Jackie Kennedy attended some of the top private schools available because her family didn’t have any financial difficulties. She spent her childhood in New York City, Hampton, Newport, and Rhode Island, where she also spent time creating her own pictures for the poems and other stories she wrote. She also took ballet lessons.
At Miss Chapin’s School on East End Avenue in New York, Jackie began the first grade. Jackie was described by one of her instructors, Miss Platt, as “a wonderful child, the sweetest little girl, extremely intelligent, very artistic, and full of the devil,” according to the JFK Library.
Jackie unintentionally got into a lot of trouble. Jacqueline was assigned a D in Form because of her unsettling behavior in her geography lesson, which necessitated excluding her from the classroom, according to one of her report cards, which was written by headmistress Miss Ethel Stringfellow.
Jackie’s parents separated when she was ten years old, and her mother Janet later wed Hugh D. Auchincloss. Then, the family relocated to his house close to Washington, D.C.
Jackie Kennedy enrolled in Vassar College in 1947. She returned to George Washington University in 1951 to receive her degree after spending her junior year studying at the Sorbonne in Paris.
Jackie developed sympathy for foreigners during her time in France, especially the French. But she was unaware at the time that she would one day hold the position of First Lady of the United States.
More than any other year in my life, I enjoyed it. Jackie Kennedy once observed of her year in France, “Being away from home gave me an opportunity to look at myself with a jaundiced eye.
I came home happy to start over here but with a passion for Europe that I’m afraid will never go away since I learnt not to be ashamed of a genuine thirst for knowledge, something I had always attempted to hide.
Jackie’s first work after graduating from George Washington University was at the Washington Times-Herald. She adopted the moniker “Inquiring Camera Girl” and spent her working hours prowling the city, photographing individuals and asking them various inquiries based on the topic at hand.
She continued to write columns for the newspaper, including interviews with notable figures like Richard M. Nixon and covering Dwight D. Eisenhower’s first inauguration.
Jackie met her future husband, John F. Kennedy, through her work at the Herald. She was asked by her friend and fellow journalist Charles Bartlett to a dinner party in Georgetown in 1952.
John Kennedy was a buddy of his as well. When John and Jackie first met, they clicked.
In America’s Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Jackie’s family friend Molly Thayer is reported as saying, “She realized quickly that he would have a profound, possibly frightening, influence on her life.”
Sparks flew at Jackie’s encounter with future president John even before she left to go on another date. He cherished her, according to Ted Kennedy, his youngest brother.
He claimed that when he first saw her at dinner, “my brother genuinely was enamored with her straight from the very beginning.”
John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy ended up falling in love as a result. The couple exchanged vows in St. Mary’s Church in Newport, Rhode Island, on September 12, 1953. Kennedy had already attained the position of U.S. Senator when they went on their honeymoon to Mexico.
JFK had plenty of free time while his political career was progressing and on the upswing. He had previously suffered a back injury, and Jackie pushed him to write a book on US senators who risked their careers to stand up for causes they believed in while he was recuperating from the operation.
After the publication of the book Profiles in Courage, JFK was awarded the 1957 Pulitzer Prize for Biography. The birth of Caroline Kennedy, the Kennedy family’s first child, made it a significant year for them as well.
Kennedy announced his presidential bid three years later. JFK was elected as the nation’s next leader on November 8, 1960.
As a result, Jackie, then 31 years old, was appointed First Lady of the United States in an instant. Her husband started crying shortly after the inauguration, and Jackie and JFK shared a great moment.
The duo was captured in a now-famous photograph by AP photographer Henry Burroughs while Jackie had her hand on his chin.
“Everyone asked why Jack didn’t kiss you after, but he would never do that there, of course. However, you have to march out in such a way that I was about eight steps behind him, according to Jackie Kennedy.
And I wished I could have seen him before lunch, just to see him by alone. And when I finally met up with him in the Capitol, I was really happy for him.
“And there’s a picture where I put my hand on his chin, and you know, he’s just gazing at me, and you know, there were tears in his eyes, honestly,” she continued. I didn’t think anyone was there, so I was surprised when a flash appeared. According to the news, his wife “chucks” him beneath the chin. He actually started crying, so that was much more emotional than any kiss could have been.
Jackie had a strong sense of duty to her country. She was equally devoted to their family at the same time, particularly because their second child, John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr., had been born only a few weeks before the inauguration.
In order to make the White House property more kid-friendly, swings, a treehouse, and a swimming pool were installed. The White House’s preservation and restoration became Jackie’s first significant undertaking as First Lady.
After this was finished, Jackie Kennedy herself provided a tour of the facility. Jackie Kennedy received an honorary Emmy Award for the program, which was seen by more than 80 million people.
Patrick, John and Jackie’s third child, was born on August 7, 1963. Sadly, he died two days later from a severe lung condition.
Then, on November 22, 1963, the historically horrible tragedy in Dallas, Texas, occurred, resulting in the shooting and death of President Kennedy. At the age of 34, Jackie experienced widowhood, and millions of people all around the world shared her sorrow.
Jackie was commended for her humility and bravery at the time. She started constructing the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum soon after her husband passed away.
Jackie quickly faded from public view and wed Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis in 1968. In 1975, she experienced her second divorce and made the decision to start over. Jackie worked as an editor for Viking Press in New York City before moving on to Doubleday as a senior editor.
She died of non-Hodgkins lymphoma on May 19, 1994, and was buried next to JFK at Arlington National Cemetery, outside of Washington, D.C.
All those who had loved her throughout her term as First Lady mourned the loss of her most keenly. Jackie became a very well-liked figure at the White House, but little is known about her private life.
Clint Hill, her former bodyguard, recently opened up about his time spent guarding Jackie and shared a lot of details that the majority of people are likely to have never heard.
Following his appointment as a counterintelligence agent for the Department of the Army, Clint had previously worked in Denver, Colorado, with President Eisenhower. One day, he was chosen to join Jackie Kennedy’s personal team of agents.
He initially believed it would be a pretty unimportant element.
“All right, we know what we’re going to do. You will be paired with Mrs. Kennedy. Hill remembered, “And I was really disgusted.
“I didn’t want to be given that task. I knew what previous first ladies had done. I didn’t want to participate in fashion presentations, tea parties, or dance classes.
Clint quickly realized, though, that Jackie wasn’t like the other First Ladies who had come before her. They developed a fantastic friendship that became better and better as time went on.
Jackie, who served as First Lady and a mother as well, insisted that her kids always come first. Clint Hill also picked up on that very fast.
She wished for the kids to grow up in a typical setting. Nothing unique. They were to be treated just like one of the agents’ own. The children stood back up if they fell. You failed to assist them. All of this has to be learned independently by them. She wanted to keep herself and the kids out of the spotlight as much as possible,” he said.
Oh, she made a wonderful mommy. She had a lot of worries concerning their education. In order for Caroline to attend school, she established a school inside the White House and invited a number of young students from various backgrounds to enroll. Additionally, it had two teachers and was located exactly on the third floor of the White House. The south grounds were where they used to play, he said.
Despite their strong friendship, Jackie always addressed Clint as Mr. Hill and he addressed her as Mrs. Kennedy. The Kennedy family was living on Squaw Island at the time, so he invited his entire family along to spend the full summer there.
As the First Lady’s bodyguard, Clint put in a lot of overtime and spent a lot of time away from his wife and kids. As a result, his children were almost fatherless.
Jackie, however, just so happened to observe that Clint’s kids were the same age as hers that summer on Squaw Island.
She invited Clint’s kids to join hers in a game.
For his part, he however turned it down.
“I was able to persuade her at last by stating why the plan was bad. As a government worker, I am. You are the president’s wife. They belong to the President’s family. If something were to go wrong when my two kids are playing with your kids, I don’t believe it would be a good idea. After fully understanding the issue, she responded, “Okay.
Naturally, Clint Hill was there in Dallas, Texas, on that dreadful day in November 1963. He is identified in photographs as the secret service man who boarded the vehicle after shots were fired at JFK.
Hill visited Jackie Kennedy in the hospital, and he was credited with preventing any photos from being taken. He wanted to keep Kennedy’s privacy private, of course. But she did something he wasn’t expecting when they got on the plane to return to Washington.
Instead of lamenting the demise of her beloved husband, Jackie Kennedy enquired as to Clint Hill’s wellbeing.
Oh, Mr. Hill, what will happen to you now? she exclaimed. She cared much more about making sure that I and the other agents engaged would be okay than she did about her own safety, Clint recalled in the interview.
I assured her that I would be OK, Mrs. Kennedy. I’ll be OK. She hadn’t altered her attire. She didn’t do any cleanup. She was just shocked; she had done nothing. Additionally, she cared more about us than she did about herself.