The assassination of US President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 was a moment that changed the course of the country’s history. But it changed the lives of three specific people in a very different way.
JFK was survived by his wife, Jackie Kennedy and their two children—their son John F. Kennedy Jr. and daughter Caroline Kennedy. In the aftermath of Kennedy’s death, the world mourned not only the man himself, but the empty void he left in the lives of his nearest and dearest.
But the tragedy didn’t end there. As the years progressed, the family endured more loss—in 1968, Kennedy’s brother Robert F. Kennedy was also assassinated aged 42. In 1994, Jackie Kennedy passed away after she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma (a cancer in the lymph-nodes).
Then in 1999, John F. Kennedy Jr. was killed in a plane crash aged just 38—his wife Carolyn also died at the scene.
Among those tragic losses (some have gone so far as to call them “The Kennedy Curse”), Caroline Bouvier Kennedy, the youngest child of the former US president, lived on.
Now, she’s 64—the very same age her mother was when she passed away—but Caroline is in her prime, she has been for a long time.
In December 2021, current US President Joe Biden announced she would be the new US Ambassador for Australia. It’s a hugely significant move, one that happened for an important reason. Here, we look at exactly who she is and why her ambassadorship in Australia is noteworthy.
What happened to Caroline Kennedy after JFK’s assassination?
Caroline was only five-years-old when her father died, which meant she’d barely come to terms with being in the public eye before she was thrust into the front and centre of it.
Despite this, her mother Jackie tried to keep her and her brother’s lives as private as possible. When Jackie remarried several years after JFK’s death, she moved her children to her spouses home country of Greece.
But Caroline was clearly drawn to the US—she returned there and studied a Bachelor of Arts at Harvard University. She also attended Columbia Law School which gave her the option of becoming a full time lawyer.
She tossed up career options for a while, even considering becoming a photojournalist. She instead settled on a job at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (yes, she’s attended the Met Gala before—so her time there was clearly sentimental to her).
Who is Caroline Kennedy’s family?
While working at the Met, Caroline met her husband, an exhibit designer named Edwin Schlossberg.
They married in 1986 and had three children together, Rose, Tatiana and John.
After her mother Jackie and brother John both died in the 1990s, Caroline was the last left of her immediate relatives. She inherited her mother’s 375-acre estate known as Red Gate Farm in Aquinnah.
In 2015 (or thereabouts), it was revealed that Caroline and her husband Edwin had split up and were living separately.
What does Caroline Kennedy do now?
Caroline has broadened her love of writing having now published several books covering privacy law and human rights. She also edited several New York Times bestsellers, including a collation of her mother’s favourite poems titled, The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
Caroline has also served on the boards of several non-profit organisations, and she famously worked for $1 a week when she worked as director of the Office of Strategic Partnerships for the New York City Department of Education. In this role, her aim was to raise money for New York City’s public schools.
What is Caroline Kennedy’s involvement in politics?
In 2008, Caroline publicly endorsed Barrack Obama’s bid for presidency by penning a poignant New York Times essay titled, A President Like My Father. Obama subsequently asked her to co-chair his Vice Presidential Search Committee. As we all know, he went on to win the election.
In 2012, she was once again named a co-chair for Obama’s reelection campaign, which he successfully won again.
In 2013, Caroline became the US ambassador to Japan under the Obama administration—a position she held until 2017.
US Ambassador to Australia
In December 2021, Caroline was officially named as the US Ambassador to Australia by President Joe Biden.
There are a couple of reasons why this was a significant move—first, Caroline is a well known public figure already. Her legacy is well respected and her social work and advocacy—particularly for female rights—is highly regarded. With this in mind, Biden’s decision appears to be a sign of respect to Australia by choosing someone of this calibre for the role.
Caroline will maintain a consistent line of communication between Biden and the Government in Canberra, and per the ABC, this influence could also nudge Australia in the right direction when it comes to climate policy—something the Morrison Government has been slow (and at times, stubborn) to act on.
Of course, Caroline will also likely focus on the country’s relationship with China and its growing influence. The ABC predicts that while Caroline can be a slightly more passive voice in political deal-making, her previous experience as an Ambassador for Japan will no doubt be valuable in how she now manoeuvres dealings in foreign policy.
Watch this space…