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Wedding of the Marquess of Hartington, heir to the Dukedom of Devonshire, and Kathleen Kennedy, sister of future President JFK, at the Kensington and Chelsea Register Office in London on this day in 1944, exactly 75 years ago. Due to the ongoing war, and her family’s disapproval, the only attendees were his parents, the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, her brother, Joseph Kennedy, and the Best man, the Duke of Rutland. The couple had met during her father’s Ambassadorial tenure as the American Ambassador to the Court of St James before the start of the war, and had battled disapproval over religion, the Cavendish family were protestant while the Kennedys were staunchly catholic, to marry. However the union was tragically short-lived as the Marquess and Marchioness of Hartington spent only five weeks together before he went back to the War and was shot down four months later. His widow found love again, with the 8th Earl Fitzwilliam, but tragically died in a plane crash in 1948, while flying to Paris to get the approval of her father. Both are buried at St Peter’s Church, Edensor, near the Devonshire family seat of Chatsworth House, which was visited by her brother, President Kennedy, during his Official Visit to Britain.
2 thoughts on “Wedding of the Marquess of Hartington and Kathleen Kennedy, 1944”
This was such a sad and tragic story. Twice she fell in love with the “wrong” men because of their religion and as a result her parents, especially her mother, were just about ready to disown her. Fitzwilliam was not only protestant, but also only separated, not divorced, and even if he had been divorced, that would have been awful for her parents anyway. Then suddenly, she died. Hers was quite a truncated life, ending way too soon and without proper resolution. Very sad indeed.
Her physical resemblance to my late Mother-in-Law is startling, and makes this sad story all the more poignant for me. How many war time marriages and romances ended tragically? We will never know. It’s all very very sad.