Kathleen "Kick" Agnes Kennedy Cavendish Courtesy of: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum>
Born Kathleen Agnes Kennedy, was the fourth child and second daughter of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Fitzgerald. She was a sister of U.S. President John F. Kennedy and widow of the heir to the Devonshire dukedom.
When President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Joseph Kennedy ambassador to the United Kingdom, his daughter Kathleen spent a year and a half living in London. She was educated in London at Queen's College. Beautiful and spirited, she was named the "most exciting debutante of 1938". In 1943, she returned to England to work in a centre for servicemen set up by the Red Cross. Despite the opposition of her intensely Catholic mother, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, Kathleen Kennedy, known to friends as Kick, married William John Robert Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington, an Anglican and the eldest son and heir of the 10th Duke of Devonshire on May 6, 1944. Other than her eldest brother Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., no one from the Kennedy family attended the marriage ceremony of their relative. Her husband was killed in action only four months later in World War II, and his younger brother Andrew Cavendish, married to Deborah Mitford, became the heir to the dukedom.
Popular on the London social circuit and admired by many for her high spirits, though more traditional members of British society found fault with her boisterousness, the dashing young widow eventually became the mistress of Peter Wentworth-FitzWilliam, 8th Earl FitzWilliam. The couple planned to wed after Fitzwilliam's planned divorce. Instead, while on a trip to the south of France, Earl Fitzwilliam and Lady Hartington died in an airplane crash in Saint-Bauzile, Ardèche, France.
Only her father represented the Kennedy family at her funeral. Her mother, Rose, declined to attend, supposedly because of Kathleen's intention to marry outside the Catholic Church. It is also said that Rose Kennedy also discouraged Kathleen's siblings from attending for the same reason. Rose apparently forgave Kathleen not long thereafter, and in 1951, she was reportedly delighted that her first grandchild, Robert F. Kennedy's daughter, Kathleen Hartington Kennedy, was named after her late daughter, but the family requested that the child not be nicknamed Kick. However, Kathleen Alexandra Kennedy (b. 1988), daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., does share with her late grand-aunt the Kick nickname.
Kathleen, Marchioness of Hartington is buried in the Cavendish family plot at Saint Peter's Church, Edensor, near Chatsworth in Derbyshire, England. Among the wreaths that covered her coffin was one with a handwritten note from Sir Winston Churchill. The gymnasium at Manhattanville College is named in her honor.
20 Feb 1920
Brookline, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts
13 May 1948
Ste-Bauzille, Ardeche, France
Airplane crash over France
Aft 13 May 1948
Chatsworth, England - Cavendish Family Burial Grounds