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October 1963, when Jacqueline Kennedy visited Morocco one month before her husband’s assassination

In October 1963, the wife of the 35th US president arrived in Marrakech in one of her first private visits to Morocco. Jacqueline Kennedy’s trip to the Kingdom came just a month before her husband’s assassination and a few months after King Hassan II’s trip to Washington. Flashback.

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October 1963, when Jacqueline Kennedy visited Morocco one month before her husband’s assassination./Ph. DR

The month of October in 1963 was remarkable for the Kingdom of Morocco. 7 months after king Hassan II's visit to the white house and a month before the assassination of the USA’s 35th president, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis visited Morocco. Accompanied with her sister, Lee Radziwill, America’s first lady arrived in Marrakech on the 13th of October 1963 in a private visit.

Visiting Morocco

The first lady’s visit was not a well-publicized trip. A single black and white video on Youtube and a couple of photos remind the world of this short yet interesting trip. A few sources though have briefly referred to Jacqueline’s visit to Morocco. The two sisters, as described by the video uploaded by Helmer Reenberg, arrived in Marrakech after their trip to Greece.

«First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and her sister Lee Radziwill arriving in Marrakech, Morocco from Athens for a three-day private visit. They arrived in a special jetliner, sent to Athens by King Hassan II of Morocco»

According to «America’s First Families : An Inside View of 200 Years of Private Life in the White House», a book written by Carl Sferrazza Anthony, an American author, Jacqueline and her sister have been to a number of countries abroad including Morocco.

Jackie Kennedy and Lee Radziwill attending a black tie dinner given byMoulay Abdullah in Marrakech./Ph. PinterestJackie Kennedy and Lee Radziwill attending a black tie dinner given byMoulay Abdullah in Marrakech./Ph. Pinterest

«… It was as the first Lady’s confidante and traveling companion, however, that Lee became indispensible to her sister : They went together twice to Greece and also to Pakistan, India, Turkey and Morocco», states the same book.

The first Lady’s visit to Marrakech was also mentioned in other sources, one of them is «The Rough Guide to Morocco» by Mark Ellingham, Daniel Jacobs and Hamish Brown. The guide indicates that Jacqueline Kennedy has visited «Palais Gharnata», a restaurant in one of Marrakech busiest areas. «According to the visitor’s book, Jacqueline Kennedy and the Aga Khan have eaten here and, according to the publicity», wrote the authors of the guide.

Ph. PinterestPh. Pinterest

A trip to forget

Although, Jacqueline Kennedy’s visit to Morocco was discreet, some sources state that she was trying to «recuperate from the loss of son Patrick». Indeed, a few months after giving birth to her infant, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, she went on a tour. In August 1963, the white house was full of sadness following the death of Patrick whose lungs were not fully developed. Based on the account provided by Vanity Fair, Jacqueline «had suffered months of postpartum depression following John’s birth and Kennedy feared it might happen again», after their son Patrick passed away.

October 15, 1963: Jackie in Marrakech, Morocco, dancing after a black tie./Ph. PinterestOctober 15, 1963: Jackie in Marrakech, Morocco, dancing after a black tie./Ph. Pinterest

This could be related to one of the photos of the first Lady in Morocco where she was dancing at a private party in Morocco in mid-October. In a different picture, the first lady and Lee Radziwill in Marrakech attended a black tie dinner given by King Hassan II's brother Moulay Abdullah.

One month after her trip to Marrakech, her husband John.F Kennedy was murdered during their visit to Dallas, Texas on the 22nd of November. While riding in a presidential motorcade next to Jacqueline, the president was shot by a former U.S. Marine. His death was surrounded by speculations and conspiracy theories and Jacqueline Kennedy’s visit to Morocco could be one of them.

The Moroccan gold belt

After Kennedy’s assassination, Jacqueline showed up wearing a precious Moroccan piece of jewelry celebrating her second marriage. Married to the Greek businessmen Aristotle Socrates Onassis, Jacqueline and her new husband throw a party to celebrate their fourth wedding anniversary. According to the 3rd of November 1972 issue of Life, an American magazine «Mr. and Mrs. Aristotle Onassis invited 60 of their well-known friends to a party held in a private room at New York’s club El Morocco».

The former American first Lady who has previously visited Morocco and met its sovereign «wore a clinging black top, long white skirt and a heavy gold belt the king of Morocco gave to her», adds the same magazine.

It was not the first time that Jackie wore the Moroccan stoned belt. She used it once as an accessory for her white gown as showed in a photo where she posed next to JFK. In a different picture, Jacqueline wore the belt with a long baby blue dress in a formal event.

Article modified on : 2018.10.13 11h46