‘I know I will marry this boy, I don’t have to think and wonder’

FIRST ENGAGEMENT: After a brief engagement to a NY stockbroker, Jackie said the next time would have a happy ending

Jackie almost didn't become a Kennedy. She wrote in her letters to Fr Joseph Leonard about her first serious boyfriend – and the man she believed she would marry – New York stockbroker John Husted. They became engaged in January 1952.

She wrote to Fr Leonard that she was “so terribly much in love – for the first time – and I want to get married. And I KNOW I will marry this boy. I don’t have to think and wonder – as I always have before – if they are the right one, how we’d get along etc.

“I just KNOW he is and it’s the deepest happiest feeling in the world.”

Their engagement was announced in the New York Times and they planned to marry in June – but Jackie broke off the engagement in March.


Broke the news
Two months later she broke the news to Fr Leonard. "I'm ashamed that we both went into it so quickly and gaily but I think the suffering it brought us both for a while afterwards was the best thing – we both need something of a shock to make us grow up.

“I don’t know if John has – I haven’t seen him and I don’t really want to, not out of meanness – it’s just better if that all dies away & we forget we knew each other – but I know it’s grown me up and it’s about time! The next time will be ALL RIGHT and have a happy ending!”

By then another young man had caught her eye.

He was also called John [F Kennedy] and was a rising star in Washington DC’s political circles.

Husted had a successful career as a stockbroker, he married twice, outlived Jackie by five years and died, aged 72, in Boston in 1999.

Michael Parsons

Michael Parsons

Michael Parsons is a contributor to The Irish Times writing about fine art and antiques