Meet John Kennedy's Sister Who Went 'Missing' at 23 Due to Her Father's Decision

The Kennedys, one of the most prominent families in American history, had their fair share of bad luck. 

One could say that John F. Kennedy's younger sister, Rosemary, was cursed – she was born on Friday the 13th, while Massachusetts was in the midst of a flu epidemic. 

Due to the pandemic and the number of other patients that the Kennedy doctor had to attend to, Rosemary's mother was in labor for hours. 

Eunice and Rosemary Kennedy, sailing from New York in April 1938 to join their parents in London | Source: Getty Images

Eunice and Rosemary Kennedy, sailing from New York in April 1938 to join their parents in London | Source: Getty Images

IT ALL STARTED DURING HER MOTHER'S LABOR

Rosemary suffered from oxygen deprivation in the process, which resulted in behavioral and educational difficulties later in life. 

Rosemary and her sister Kathleen was "presented" to King George and Queen Elizabeth when she was 19 years old, and she immediately won the hearts of both the royal family and British citizens. 

The teenager, on the brink of adulthood, thrived in Brittain and Rosemary's father wrote home that "she is happy and looks better than she ever did," according to biographer Marius Gabriel. 

A portrait of the Kennedy family in Hyannis Port, Massachussetts, 1930s. Image credit: Getty/Global Images Ukraine

A portrait of the Kennedy family in Hyannis Port, Massachussetts, 1930s. Image credit: Getty/Global Images Ukraine

HER CONDITION KEPT GETTING WORSE

However, Rosemary's life took a downturn two years later when she accompanied her father and returned to the States. 

Gone was the bubbly girl; Rosemary had violent seizures and temper tantrums, and her younger siblings grew increasingly afraid of her. 

Rosemary was sent to a convent, where even the nuns had trouble to control her. She would sneak out at night to meet men at the local taverns. 

Rosemary Kennedy in 1938, three years before her lobotomy, ready to be presented at Court. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Rosemary Kennedy in 1938, three years before her lobotomy, ready to be presented at Court. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

JOSEPH KENNEDY'S DECISION

The news reached her father. Besides being worried about Rosemary's safety, he was also concerned about his political reputation. 

Without consulting his wife, Joseph Kennedy instructed two surgeons to perform a lobotomy on Rosemary. She was only 23 years old. 

At the time, the procedure was believed to cure psychological "delinquencies," such as alcoholism and nymphomania.

Dr. Walter Freeman and Dr. James W Watts, the doctors who performed Rosemary's lobotomy. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Dr. Walter Freeman and Dr. James W Watts, the doctors who performed Rosemary's lobotomy. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

The operation was a failure, and Rosemary lost the ability to walk and talk. She spent the next 64 years of her life in institutions, unable to use her limbs. 

She could only utter a few words and spent the remainder of her life isolated, as her father had instructed that she receive no visitors. 

Rosemary passed away in 2005 at the age of 86, forgotten by her family and by the world. Her lobotomy is said to have been the start of the Kennedy curse. 

John F Kennedy, pictured with his wife Jackie during his campaign for the presidency, was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, in 1963. Image credit: Getty/Global Images Ukraine

John F Kennedy, pictured with his wife Jackie during his campaign for the presidency, was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, in 1963. Image credit: Getty/Global Images Ukraine

Three years after she was lobotomized, her brother Joseph P Kennedy Jr. died in a plane crash. Four years later, their sister Kathleen died in a plane crash too. 

In the early sixties, John F. Kennedy's son died of infant respiratory distress syndrome. Three months later, John was assassinated. 

Other Kennedys who lost their lives due to the "curse," include US Senator Ted Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Joseph P Kennedy II, Edward M Kennedy Jr, David A. Kennedy, William Kennedy Smith, Michael LeMoyne Kennedy, John F. Kennedy Jr, Kara Kennedy, Mary Richardson Kennedy, and Christopher Kennedy Lawford. 

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