JFK was carrying ‘With love - Dublin’ pillbox on day he was assassinated
Jackie Kennedy tells priest: ‘You took me to the little shop where I bought him a tiny silver pillbox’
President Kennedy’s visit to Dublin in 1963. He had also visited Dublin as a senator in 1955 with Jackie
Former US president John F Kennedy was carrying a piece of silver on which was engraved “With love – Dublin” in his suit pocket on the day he was assassinated.
The revelation is contained in one of the final letters written by Jackie to her trusted friend and correspondent, Irish priest Fr Leonard, in 1964.
JFK was shot by a sniper as he travelled by motorcade through Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas, on November 22nd, 1963. His wife was with him in the open-top presidential limousine.
Using black-edged writing paper embossed with “Mrs John F Kennedy”, the grieving former US first lady wrote to Fr Leonard in January 1964 to thank him for “saying Mass for Jack and for all your prayers”.
The priest, who was then 87 and in poor health, had received special permission from the Vatican to say the memorial Mass while seated.
She reminded the priest of the visit she had made to Ireland in 1955 with her husband, then a US senator, when Fr Leonard took her shopping for antiques. She recalled that “you took me to the little shop where I bought him a tiny silver pillbox”.
The name of the shop is not mentioned in the letter.
She later had “With love – Dublin” and the date engraved on it, and she told Fr Leonard: “Though he [JFK] lost everything – he never lost that – and always carried it with him – Even when he died.”
The whereabouts of the silver pillbox is not known.
The letter is among the archive of Jackie’s letters to Fr Leonard to be auctioned by Sheppard’s on June 10th with an estimate of €800,000 to €1.2 million.
The auction also features a more modestly priced item of related memorabilia: a Christmas card signed by both JFK and Jackie in November 1963, before they left for the fateful trip to Dallas.