Jackie Kennedy’s letters to priest returned to family

Letters sent to an Irish priest by Jackie Kennedy, the former US first lady, have been returned to the Kennedy family.

This was announced by the Vincentian order in Dublin on September 5.

The order said the decision had been taken with “regard to the respect due to what is correspondence of a private nature”.

Plans to sell the 33 letters at auction earlier this year sparked outrage and the sale, which was expected to raise more than 1 million euros, was quickly called off.

The letters were written between 1950 and 1964 by the former first lady to Fr Joseph Leonard, a priest in the All Hallows seminary in Drumcondra, Dublin.

It is understood that Jackie Kennedy’s daughter Caroline Bouvier Kennedy, the US ambassador to Japan, had retained a Dublin law firm to assert her ownership of the copyright of the content of the letters.

Ambassador Kennedy has declined to comment publicly on the matter.

It is not known if the Kennedy family paid the Vincentians for the letters and the order said it would be “making no further comment”.

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