Letter written by mother of JFK to Wallis Simpson emerges for sale

‘I know not age, or weariness or defeat’: Letter written by mother of JFK and Robert Kennedy to Wallis Simpson in which she vows ‘not to be vanquished’ after the assassination of both her sons emerges for sale

  • Rose Kennedy penned the stoic note to the Duchess of Windsor in October 1968
  • She enquired about health of former King Edward VIII, asking about his eyesight 
  • It came four months after Robert’s murder and five years after John was shot

A poignant letter from the mother of John and Robert Kennedy to Wallis Simpson reflecting on the assassination both her sons has come to light 52 years later.

Rose Kennedy penned the stoic correspondence in October 1968, four months after the murder of senator Robert Kennedy and five years after JFK was killed in Dallas, Texas.

In the three-page handwritten letter to the Duchess of Windsor she told of having faced ‘unexpected trials’ but vowed ‘not to be vanquished’.

Rose Kennedy revealed her new motto in a note to the Duchess of Windsor: ‘I know not age, or weariness or defeat’ 

Rose Kennedy, pictured left sitting in the red dress on the left, wrote about sons John, pictured middle, standing, and Robert, pictured to John’s left, in the stoic note

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor outside Government House in Nassau, the Bahamas, circa 1942

She then revealed her new motto: ‘I know not age, or weariness or defeat.’

Mrs Kennedy also enquired about the health of the Duke of Windsor, the former King Edward VIII, asking about his faltering eyesight.

In a reference to the abdication crisis and the couple’s exile in France, she then praised the Windsors for how they had managed their ‘awesome responsibilities’ and ‘achieved their goals without panic or temperament’.

She wrote: ‘I hope the Duke is well and that his eyes are not too great a worry.

‘As we get older we all have unexpected trials, and I have experienced a few but I always say I am not going to be vanquished.

‘I have a new motto which you may like. I know not age, or weariness or defeat.

‘…I have often thought of you and your awesome responsibilities, and I know the world feels you have achieved your goals without a sign of panic or temperament.’

Intriguingly, Mrs Kennedy commented on the marriage of her daughter-in-law Jackie Kennedy to the shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis.

It seemed she was having some difficulty processing it when she wrote ‘at the moment I am a little dizzy with the marriage and Runnymede’ (where a memorial was installed in the garden to honour JFK).

In a reference to the abdication crisis and the couple’s exile in France, she then praised the Windsors for how they had managed their ‘awesome responsibilities’ and ‘achieved their goals without panic or temperament’

The letter is being sold by a private collector with auctioneers William George, of Peterborough, Cambs and is expected to fetch £2,000

Mrs Kennedy told her friend of having faced ‘unexpected trials’ but vowed ‘not to be vanquished’

The letter is being sold by a private collector with auctioneers William George, of Peterborough, Cambs.

They had bought it from a sale of material owned by the Duchess of Windsor at her house in Paris.

The letter is now tipped to sell for £2,000.

The Kennedys and Windsors had been friends since Mrs Kennedy’s husband Joe became US ambassador to Britain in 1938.

They would stay at the Windsors’ home in Paris and were also close with Winston and Clementine Churchill.

Alex McCormick, specialist at William George, said: ‘Rose Kennedy, as the wife of Joe Kennedy Senior is likely to have become friendly with Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, during his time as US ambassador to the United Kingdom which began in 1938.

‘Although Edward VIII abdicated in December 1936 and subsequently married Wallis in June 1937, they were extremely popular and, living in Paris, were hosts to society people who visited Paris or lived there including Coco Chanel, the Churchills and the Kennedys.

The Kennedys and Windsors had been friends since Mrs Kennedy’s husband Joe became US ambassador to Britain in 1938. Pictured: The front of the envelope addressed to the Duchess

The back of the letter’s envelope, which is being sold by a private collector with auctioneers William George

‘It is likely that the friendship spanned the period from 1938 until the death of the Duchess of Windsor in 1986.

‘The Rose Kennedy motto is most noteworthy: ‘I know not age, or weariness or defeat’. It reveals her state of mind as two of her sons had been assassinated.’

JFK was shot dead by Lee Harvey Oswald as his motorcade drove past the the Texas Book Depository on November 22, 1963.

On June 5, 1968, Robert Kennedy was shot dead at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles by Sirhan Sirhan as he walked through a kitchen hallway.

Edward VIII abdicated the throne in December 1936 after just 11 months to marry American socialite Simpson, a divorcee. He died in 1972.

The timed sale ends on August 27.

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