Jackie, Janet & Lee: The Secret Lives of Janet Auchincloss and Her Daughters, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Lee Radziwill | Page 1 of 251

Author: J. Randy Taraborrelli | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 2565 Views | Add a Review

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To my parents, Rocco and Rose Marie Taraborrelli

I have fought the good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith.



March 15, 1961. The White House.

It was an evening Janet Auchincloss would never forget, the kind that made her wonder whose life she was living, because it certainly didn’t seem like her own. Wearing a beige silk dress with a delicately jeweled bodice, pearls at her neck, and a fine emerald pin on her shoulder, Janet, with her husband, Hugh, walked into the State Dining Room and stood in stunned silence. Before them was a sea of people in formal wear seated at round tables, seven at each, in chairs covered in yellow, brown, and raspberry-colored silk. The tables were draped in gold cloth with simple yet elegant centerpieces of yellow-and-white hydrangeas, freesia, peonies, a sprig of tangerines, and two perfectly placed, tapered white candles. The flatware was antique vermeil. The room itself was also stunning, adorned tastefully in an eighteenth-century Louis XVI style with pale yellow walls, gold silk drapes, and crisp white molding. As a small string quartet softly played, people milled about searching for their place settings while chatting happily among themselves.

As Janet would later recall, it took a minute or so for her to focus on the seventy-plus guests before she realized that most of them were relatives and personal friends. Continuing to survey the room, she saw one animated young woman trying to flag her down. It was her daughter Lee. Janet made a beeline for her. After an embrace, Lee took her mother by the hand to the table where she was seated with her husband, Prince Stanislaw Radziwill—known to all as “Stas.” Hugh, impeccably tailored in a gray-and-white tuxedo, greeted his stepdaughter with a warm hug and Stas with a firm handshake.

As everyone enjoyed one another’s company, the anticipation in the cavernous dining room continued to build. Finally, a stately-looking gentleman went to a microphone and, with great pomposity, announced,

“Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States, John Fitzgerald

Kennedy, and the First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy.” At that point, everyone rose and applauded as the first couple made their way slowly through the dining room, smiling, shaking hands, and graciously greeting guests.

Janet’s oldest daughter, Jacqueline—Jackie—was a real beauty, her ink-black short hair in a glossy yet simple coif, her angular face clear and luminous as if carved from polished marble. She had prominent cheekbones and dark eyes set far apart. Her teeth weren’t perfectly aligned, but her smile was appealing just the same, as if that one flaw lent humanity to her goddess-like quality.

Love and pride lit up Janet’s face as Jackie reached out to her and kissed her on the cheek. Jackie then embraced Hugh and Stas, saving her sister for last. Smiling, she and Lee joined hands, holding each other at arm’s length to compliment their fashion choices—Jackie in white sleeveless organza, Lee in flowing red silk—before finally hugging each other.

Janet knew the evening was one Jackie had planned especially for Lee because Lee hadn’t been well. She’d had a difficult time giving birth about six months earlier, which had debilitated her to the point where she’d not even been able to attend the inauguration of President Kennedy. Making things all the more difficult for her, Lee was now living in Europe with Stas, an ocean separating her from her beloved family members. These days, she seemed muted, sad.

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Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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