Death of Lee Radziwill, the princess who came to the new Camelot

Lee Radziwill has died at the age of 85. The former princess was known as a socialite and style icon while her attempts to forge an acting career were well documented. But for many, she will always be the little sister of Jackie Kennedy.

In the early 1960s, with Jackie and her husband John F. Kennedy in the White House, Lee was the princess at the heart of the court later called a new Camelot. Her title came from her second marriage, to Prince Stanislaw Albrecht Radziwill, while her high profile brought Lee more brushes with royalty.

She was born Caroline Lee Bouvier on March 3rd 1933 in New York, four years after the arrival of her only sibling, Jackie. They were both daughters of John Vernou Bouvier III and his wife, Janet Norton Lee. In April 1953, just months before her sister’s wedding to JFK, Lee Bouvier married Michael Canfield, but their union ended in 1959. Soon afterwards, she married Prince Stanislaw Radziwill with whom she would have two children, Anthony and Christina.

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Now Her Serene Highness, Lee spent time pursuing an acting career as well as working in PR. And when Jackie entered the White House as First Lady, Lee was often at her side, staying at the presidential residence and supporting her sister on tours and visits.

In 1961, Lee was invited to Buckingham Palace when John and Jackie Kennedy were entertained to dinner by the Queen and Prince Philip.  She later wrote that as they walked through a gallery that evening, Prince Philip told her they had a lot in common, as they both always had to be three steps behind. The following year, she was again with Jackie when she was invited to lunch at the Palace.

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A later meeting came in far sadder circumstances. In 1965, following the assassination of JFK, Jackie Kennedy and her children came to England to see the Queen dedicate a memorial to him at Runnymede. Lee was once more at her sister’s side, offering support.

Lee’s and Prince Stanislaw divorced in 1974 and in 1988, she married again, to Herbert Ross but when that union ended she decided to be known thereafter as Lee Radziwill.

It remained a well known name around the world with Lee a regular presence at society events and on fashion front rows. However, her smile masked deep sorrows. She lost her son, Prince Anthony, in 1999 to cancer. His death came five years after Jackie passed away.

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Lee Radziwill died on February 15th 2019 in New York. Her passing is a reminder of the lost court of the Kennedys, that charmed moment that briefly turned Lee into one of the most photographed women in the world. Sister and support, she will be remembered as the princess who came to the new Camelot.

About author

Lydia is a writer, blogger and journalist. She's worked in the media for over twenty years as a broadcast reporter, producer and editor as well as feature and online writer. As well as royals and royal history, she's a news junkie and podcaster.