JFK And Jackie Had Four Children. This Is The Only One Still Alive

The Kennedy family has had its fair share of good luck and misfortune. Most famously, John F. Kennedy, the 35th U.S. president, died by an assassin's bullet in Dallas, Texas in 1963. Kennedy married First Lady Jackie Kennedy (born Jacqueline Bouvier) 10 years earlier. The couple had four children together and among them only one — their second child, Caroline Kennedy — lived to old age, avoiding the Kennedy family "curse," which took both her father and her uncle, Robert F. Kennedy, among other family members.

Caroline aside, JFK and Jackie's first child, Arabella, was stillborn, per IrishCentral. After Caroline, John Jr. was born in 1960 but died tragically in 1999 at the age of 38. After John Jr.'s birth, JFK and Jackie were pregnant one final time, but their second son, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy died just a short time after he was born in 1963, not long before JFK himself was shot and killed. From the successful and long career of Caroline to pregnancy trauma, childhood illness, and a dramatic and tragic accident in adulthood, here's a closer look at JFK and Jackie's four children — the first generation of the American political dynasty likened to Camelot.

Arabella was stillborn

If not for a tragic miscarriage in 1955, just two years after they were married, John and Jackie Kennedy may have had a fifth child. In 1956, Jackie was pregnant again but shortly before the baby — Arabella — was due, she was rushed to a Rhode Island hospital, near where she was staying at the time with her mother and stepfather, The New York Times reported that year. Medical staff did what they could but the baby, never officially named, was stillborn via cesarean. As Steven Livingston wrote in his book, "The Kennedy Baby: The Loss That Transformed JFK" (via HuffPost), this pattern continued throughout Jackie's remaining pregnancies.

The name Arabella never appeared on any documents or on a birth certificate and the stillborn child's gravestone next to her father at Arlington National Cemetery simply reads "daughter." (Arabella was first buried in Brookline, Massachusetts but later moved). It's written that Jackie later referred to the child by the name she goes by today, and it's unclear if Jack ever used the name Arabella for his stillborn daughter. After her first miscarriage, Jackie was informed all further pregnancies would likely be "difficult for her," JFK advisor, Ken O'Donnell, who was close with the couple, later said (via HuffPost). By 1957, Jackie was pregnant again, but this time there was a much happier ending for the young couple.

[Featured image by Yannick Leclercq via Wikimedia Commons | Cropped and scaled | CC BY-SA 4.0]

Caroline's birth changed JFK for the better

Caroline Bouvier Kennedy, the only child of John and Jackie Kennedy to live to old age, was born in 1957. Biographer Steven Livingston writes that the healthy birth of JFK's first daughter Caroline inspired a newfound sense of duty and responsibility in the Massachusetts senator at the time. Caroline was 3 years old when her father became president and 6 years old when he died, and although she has yet to run for elected office, Caroline has followed her family's legacy into politics. As a small child, Caroline is pictured with her parents, above.

Caroline graduated from Radcliffe College in 1980 and Columbia University in 1988. A lawyer and author, she married Edwin Arthur Schlossberg in 1986 and served as U.S. ambassador to Japan and more recently, U.S. ambassador to Australia. In 2008, she formally endorsed Barack Obama for president, maintaining the Kennedy family's influence on the Democratic Party (via CNN). In a video created for the JFK Library, Caroline referred to her famous father when she said (via Today), "I have thought about him and missed him every day of my life. ... Growing up without him was made easier by all the people who kept him in their hearts."

John Jr. died in a plane crash

After the birth of Caroline Bouvier Kennedy, John and Jackie had a son, John F. Kennedy Jr., while his father was president-elect in 1960. As a small child known as "John-John" he was photographed saluting his father's funeral procession in 1963 (via Rare Historical Photos). Although JFK Jr. survived childhood and lived into adulthood, the Kennedy family curse caught up with him when he and his wife, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy and her sister, Lauren Bessette, died in a plane wreck on their way to Martha's Vineyard. John Jr. piloted the private single-engine plan when the accident happened.

Before he died, JFK Jr. graduated from Brown University and New York University Law School. He worked as an assistant district attorney before shifting his focus to publishing, founding the now-defunct "George" magazine in 1995. Handsome and charismatic, he also tried his hand at acting, and in 1988, People magazine named him "Sexiest Man Alive." In an interview just a few years before he died, JFK Jr. reflected on his famous last name (via The New York Times). "It's hard for me to talk about a legacy or a mystique. It's my family. The fact that there have been difficulties and hardships, or obstacles, makes us closer," he said. JFK, Jackie, and John Jr. as an infant are pictured above.

Patrick Kennedy lived less than two days

The final child of John F. and Jackie Kennedy, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, was born in 1963, the same year his father was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas. Reportedly, he was born with hyaline membrane disease (HMD), now called respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), which causes breathing issues in newborn children, according to Boston Children's Hospital, where Patrick was treated. Today, RDS is highly treatable, but it was less so in 1963. Patrick, who lived just 39 hours, was at first buried in Brookline, Massachusetts, The New York Times reported in 1963. Today, he is buried alongside his mother and father and stillborn sister, Arabella, at Arlington National Cemetery. 

By his infant son's side when he died, JFK reportedly said (via Vanity Fair), "He put up quite a fight. He was a beautiful baby," and was visibly and uncharacteristically upset by his passing. Mimi Beardsley, an intern with whom JFK had been romantically intimate, later said that Patrick's death filled Kennedy "not only with grief but with an aggrieved sense of responsibility to his wife and family." Patrick's death also brought the president and first lady closer than ever before. "The death of the infant was one of the hardest moments in the lives of both President and Mrs. Kennedy," Kennedy Press Secretary Pierre Salinger later said (via HuffPost). Meanwhile, JFK himself had only a few months left to live.

[Featured image by Arlington National Cemetery Explorer via Wikimedia Commons | Cropped and scaled]