Rosemary Kennedy’s Tragedy Is Something The World Should Know About

Rosemary Kennedy was the oldest daughter of a rich businessman of United States Joseph Kennedy, Sr, and his wife Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. Rose Marie as she was called was sister to John F. Kennedy who was the 35th President of the United States in 1961 and her other two brothers Robert F. Kennedy and Ted Kennedy were senators in the United States Parliament. The story of Rosemary Kennedy’s tragedy is really heart wrenching.

source- Youtube

However, the world might recognize her better as former American President John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s sister but her identity was not only restricted to this recognition. She was present to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in the year 1938 at their very famous Buckingham Palace as the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom. 

While her beauty had the potential to be the talk of the town, it was Rosemary Kennedy’s heart-wrenching tragedy that grabbed attention of the whole world towards her.

Rosemary Kennedy’s Tragedy Shows Human Plight At Its Absolute Worst!

Rosemary Kennedy’s life was a terrible tragedy since her birth. It is a portrayal of the maximum struggles a person can take up in one life.

rosemary kennedy's tragedy
source- The Wall Street Journal

She was suffering from the very first point she was born. While giving birth her mother Rose was asked to keep her legs closed for two hours by the doctors and this made the baby deprived of the sufficient amount of oxygen to her brain, as the baby’s head is usually at the lower side of mother’s body while she gives birth. This resulted in an incomplete mental progress of Rosemary or Rosie as called by family, according to her age. Rosemary failed to advance ahead from kindergarten twice. Yes that was the point her real life sufferings began when she started facing problems to cope up with children of her age and things around.

Binet Intelligence Test was administered to her by the Massachusetts state law. Rosemary Kennedy was given private education by two nuns and a private teacher Miss Newton, who spent their entire day with her in one classroom. In return for their dedicated behavior Rosie’s father Joseph gave the school a new Tennis court.

Even at the age of 15, her education skills were reported to be of fourth-grade level. She had an IQ between 60 and 70.

Rosemary’s father, Joseph Kennedy, Sr, decided to make her go through Prefrontal Lobotomy, where a patient’s brain is incised through the skull, and certain brain tissues that are believed to be causing “mental problems” are removed.

source- History.com

However, since Rosemary’s life was doomed from the beginning. The Lobotomy procedure failed terribly, leaving Rosemary permanently mentally incapacitated.

And, her IQ dropped down to that of a 2-year old. Nor could Rosemary walk properly, and neither could she speak clearly for the rest of her life!

The Aftermath: Rosemary Kennedy’s Tragedy Has Yet To Take A Turn For The Worse…

In 1949, Rosemary Kennedy was sent to St. Coletta School for Exceptional Children. There, she was kept in a private house near St. Coletta’s main campus.

For the most part of her remaining life, his family and relatives maintained distance from her. While she did not see her mother for the next 20 years, her father never saw her till his last breath.

It wasn’t until after John F. Kennedy was elected as the President of the United States of America that Rosemary’s public disappearance was explained clearly.

source- Pinterest

Rosemary Kennedy’s tragedy wasn’t just the fact that she was mentally ill.

It was also that her illness became a shame for herself and her family. Despite having a big family and such a reputed surname in The States, her identity disappeared amidst the loud voices of Kennedy fame and success.

Today the world needs to know about Rosemary Kennedy’s tragedy. Not because what could be a well-known personality, was obscured by a stigma of mental illness.

But because, a person, who could have had the potential to lead a happy life, was deprived of even leading a healthy one. She also had her diaries that she wrote in late 1930s and which got published in 1980s. Before her operation her life was totally different. Instead of being locked up in one room she has a very social life. If anyone would read her diaries he can observe that her earlier life was full of social events like tea dances, outings to operas, dress fittings and many more.

But because she had to go through that one operation her little miserable life turned into a total tragedy. And the world came to know about her in a different way than she could have been known… Well that was the tragedy of Rosemary Kennedy: her life.


As a Literature student, Pooja is passionate about the world of words. Apart from spending hours snuggled up in a blanket with a book in hand, she enjoys digging up facts and theories about historical as well as mythological events. However, sharing them with the world is what keeps her going in life.

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