How Jackie Kennedy Secretly Visited The White House After The Assassination Of JFK

How Jackie Kennedy Secretly Visited The White House After The Assassination Of JFK

August 30, 2021


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By Hope Campbell/Aug. 30, 2021 12:57 pm EDT

During Jackie Kennedy’s brief time in the White House between 1960 and 1963, she famously transformed the famous home. Rather than just putting her own touch on the decor by redecorating the residence, she turned the building into a historic monument. “Everything in the White House must have a reason for being there,” she explained (via Biography). “It would be sacrilege merely to ‘redecorate’ it — a word I hate. It must be restored — and that has nothing to do with decoration. That is a question of scholarship.”

And redecorate it she did, debuting the transformation on national television in 1962, according to Biography. A year after that television appearance, Jackie and her two young children, Caroline and John Jr., were forced to move out of the White House when her husband and their father, President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated in 1963. That didn’t mean she didn’t harbor an attachment for the home she put so much care into — and in the early 1970s, she found a way to visit with her children once again.

Jackie Kennedy wanted her children to see their father's legacy

When President Richard Nixon and his wife Pat were living in the White House, Jackie Kennedy wrote a letter from one first lady to another in 1970. According to The Washington Post, the former first lady wrote to the current first lady and explained to her why she would one day like to visit the White House again.

“I have returned to Washington only to visit Arlington,” Jackie wrote, with Arlington being the national cemetery in Virginia where her late husband was buried. “I know that time will make things easier. And that one day, when they and I are older, I must take Caroline and John back to the places where they lived with their father. But that won’t be for a while” (via The Washington Post).

That “for a while” came only a year later when Jackie wrote to Pat Nixon once again and asked to bring her children for a brief visit. It was Pat who arranged for Jackie, John Jr., and Caroline to visit the White House on February 3, 1971, and they “slipped in,” as Jackie wished. She later wrote to Pat of their visit, “It made me happy to hear the children bursting with reminiscences all the way home. Thank you with all my heart. A day I always dreaded turned out to be one of the most precious ones I have spent with my children.”

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