Kathleen, Marchioness of Hartington

Is your surname Cavendish?

Research the Cavendish family

Kathleen, Marchioness of Hartington's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Related Projects

Kathleen Agnes Cavendish (Kennedy)

Also Known As: "Kick"
Birthplace: Brookline, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States
Death: May 13, 1948 (28)
Ste Bauzille, Ardeche, Rhone-Alpes, France (Ste Bauzille, Ardeche, Rhone-Alpes, France (Plane crash) )
Place of Burial: Chatsworth, England
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr.; Rose Elizabeth Kennedy and Private
Wife of William Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington
Sister of Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.; Private; Robert F. Kennedy, U.S. Attorney General; Private; Private and 6 others

Occupation: Marchioness of Hartington
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Kathleen, Marchioness of Hartington


Sister of President John F Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy

Became the "Dutchess of Devonshire" in England due to earlier marriage to William Hartington. They had castles in Ireland, Scotland, Yorkshire, and Sussex. Widowed when Billy died in WW II. She died in a plane crash in 1948 with Peter Fitzwilliam, Earl on the way to see her Father. the plane crashed into the hills of Rhone Valley. She was buried in a tiny village churchyard, near Chatsworth, the Devonshire family seat; Billy having been interred with his fallen comrades in Belgium.

Called "Lady Harrington" and the new Marchioness.

Lived in Lismore Castle, Waterford, Ireland, south of Tipperary River.

When President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Joseph Kennedy ambassador to the United Kingdom, his daughter Kathleen spent a year and a half living in London. She was educated in London at Queen's College. Beautiful and spirited, she was named the "most exciting debutante of 1938". In 1943, she returned to England to work in a centre for servicemen set up by the Red Cross. Despite the opposition of her intensely Catholic mother, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, Kathleen Kennedy, known to friends as Kick, married William John Robert Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington, an Anglican and the eldest son and heir of the 10th Duke of Devonshire on May 6, 1944. Other than her eldest brother Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., no one from the Kennedy family attended the marriage ceremony of their relative. Her husband was killed in action only four months later in World War II, and his younger brother Andrew Cavendish, married to Deborah Mitford, became the heir to the dukedom.

Popular on the London social circuit and admired by many for her high spirits, though more traditional members of British society found fault with her boisterousness, the dashing young widow eventually became the mistress of Peter Wentworth-FitzWilliam, 8th Earl FitzWilliam.[1] The couple planned to wed after Fitzwilliam's planned divorce. Instead, while on a trip to the south of France, Earl Fitzwilliam and Lady Hartington died in an airplane crash in Saint-Bauzile, Ardèche, France.

Only her father represented the Kennedy family at her funeral. Her mother, Rose, declined to attend, supposedly because of Kathleen's intention to marry outside the Catholic church. It is also said that Rose Kennedy also discouraged Kathleen's siblings from attending for the same reason.[citation needed] Rose apparently forgave Kathleen not long thereafter, and in 1951, she was reportedly delighted that her first grandchild, Robert F. Kennedy's daughter, Kathleen Hartington Kennedy, was named after her late daughter, but the family requested that the child not be nicknamed Kick. However, Kathleen Alexandra Kennedy (b. 1988), daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., does share with her late grand-aunt the Kick nickname.

The Marchioness of Hartington is buried in the Cavendish family plot at Saint Peter's Church, Edensor, near Chatsworth in Derbyshire, England. Among the wreaths that covered her coffin was one with a handwritten note from Sir Winston Churchill[citation needed]. The gymnasium at Manhattanville College is named in her honor.

view all

Kathleen, Marchioness of Hartington's Timeline

February 20, 1920
Brookline, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States
May 13, 1948
Age 28
Ste Bauzille, Ardeche, Rhone-Alpes, France
May 20, 1948
Age 28
Chatsworth, England
Sisters of the Sacred Heart Convent School, Noroton, Connecticut, United States
Sacred Heart Convent in Europe
Red Cross