Kathleen Kennedy’s Wrist Watch
She was the fourth child and second daughter of Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald. She was born February 20, 1920 in Brookline Massachusetts. She died in a airplane crash in Saint-Bauzile, Ardéche, France. She was laid to rest at St. Peter’s Churchyard, Edensor, Derbyshire, England. She attended Riverdale Country School, Norton Convent of the Sacred Heart, and Holy Child Convent. Nicknamed “Kick” by most who knew her. She and her older brother John were particularly close
throughout their lives.
Kennedy’s time in England during her father’s appointment as Ambassador would dramatically influence the remainder of her life. With WWII imminent following the invasion of Poland in September 1939, the entire Kennedy family, regarding
safety for Ambassador Kennedy, returned to the United States. Kennedy, having become very fond of England and the many friends she had made, petitioned her parents to remain in London in spite of the coming danger but was overruled by her father and sailed back home in the early fall.
In 1943, seeking a way to return to England, Kennedy signed up to work in a center for servicemen set up by the Red Cross. During her time in England, both before and particularly during the war, she gradually but
increasingly grew more independent from her family and the Catholic Church. During this time, Kennedy began a romantic relationship with politician William Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington. He was the eldest son and heir
apparent of the Duke of Devonshire.
Despite objections from her mother Rose, she and Hartington reunited upon her return to England. She
married Hartington on 6 May 1944, in a civil ceremony at the Caxton Hall Registry Office. Her eldest brother Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., whom she had grown close to during the last year of his life, was the only member of the Kennedy family to attend the ceremony. On August 12, 1944, Joe Jr. was killed when his plane exploded during a top-secret bombing mission in Europe.
Kathleen and Hartington spent less than five weeks together before he went out to fight in Germany. Four months after their marriage, and less than a month after Joe Jr. was killed, Hartington was killed by a sniper during a battle near the German Front. With his family’s blessing, he was buried close to where he fell. Kathleen
eventually became romantically involved with the Earl Fitzwilliam. Fitzwilliam was in the process of divorcing his wife. Once again, Rose Kennedy expressed her disapproval of her daughter’s suitor and warned her that she would be disowned by the family and cut off financially if she married Fitzwilliam. In May 1948, Kathleen learned that her father would be traveling to Paris. In an effort to gain his consent for her upcoming plans to marry Fitzwilliam, she decided to fly to Paris to meet with her father.
On May 13, 1948, Kennedy and Fitzwilliam were flying from Paris. At 3:30 in the afternoon, their plane took off. Approximately one hour into the flight, radio contact was lost with the plane when it entered the region near Vienne which was also close to the center of a storm. The plane’s four occupants endured twenty minutes of severe turbulence which bounced their small plane up and down as much as several thousand feet at a time. The stress of the turbulence coupled with the sudden change of direction tore loose one of the wings. The plane’s fuselage then spun into the ground near the Cevennes Mountains in the Saint-Bauzile, France. Kennedy was instantly killed along with Fitzwilliam. Her father was the only family member to attend the funeral in England, arranged by the
Cavendishes. Rose Kennedy refused to attend her daughter’s memorial service.