Jackie Kennedy had another suitor before she married Aristotle Onassis in October of 1968. David Ormsby Gore, a close friend of the Kennedy family and personal adviser to President John F. Kennedy, proposed to the widowed former First Lady that same year. But, The New York Timesreports, she turned him down. Kennedy detailed her decision in a handwritten letter discovered last month in the late Ormsby Gore's home.
Dated November 13, 1968 (one month after her marriage to Onassis), the letter mentions the hardships that both Kennedy and Ormsby Gore—a British ambassador to Washington and a widower—had gone through and healed from together.
"We have known so much & shared & lost so much together—Even if it isn't the way you wish now—I hope that bond of love and pain will never be cut," Kennedy wrote.
John F Kennedy and Jackie O through the years
John F Kennedy and Jackie O through the years
Massachusetts, USA, 1950's, President of the United States of America John F, Kennedy pictured as a young man with his wife Jackie Kennedy (Jacqueline Bouvier) early in their marriage (Photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images)
Massachusetts, USA, 1950's, President of the United States of America John F, Kennedy pictured as a young man with his wife Jackie Kennedy at home (Photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images)
NEWPORT, RI - SEPTEMBER 12: John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy outside St. Mary's Church after their wedding on September 12, 1953. (Photo by Charles F. McCormick/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1754: US President John Kennedy, President Charles de Gaulle and Jackie Kennedy in Paris at the Elysee Palace May 31, 1961 (Photo by Universal History Archive/Getty Images)
1956: Waiter clearing dishes fr. table in front of actor David Niven (3R) sitting next to Sen. Jack Kennedy's wife Jackie (2R) w. others dining at society gala sponsored by wife of US Amb. to Cuba, in the ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. At the far left is Jackie's sister Caroline Lee Bouvier (later Canfield, Radziwill, and Ross). (Photo by Yale Joel/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
March 25, 1958: Sen. Jack Kennedy cuddling his darling baby daughter Caroline who is smiling as her mom Jackie looks on in delight while relaxing on bed at home. (Photo by Ed Clark/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
JULY 20: John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy. (Photo by Charles McCormick/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Sen. Jack Kennedy slyly lending an ear to his wife Jackie's giddy whisper as they sit together at table during cocktail hour before dining at society gala sponsored by wife of US Amb. to Cuba, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. (Photo by Yale Joel/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
American future First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy (1929 - 1994) and her daughter Caroline pause on the stairs of their vacation home and look back down, Hyannisport, Massachusetts, September 1960. Ms. Kenney wears a trenchcoat and a flower-print scarf over her hair while Caroline is dressed in a overalls. (Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Jackie Kennedy and friends, circa 1960s. (Photo by Fotosearch/Getty Images).
CIRCA 1960s: Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy enjoys herself at a picnic circa the 1960s. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, UNITED STATES - 1961: President Kennedy (R) with First Lady Jackie (L) (in fur-trimmed suit designed by Oleg Cassini) at his inauguration. (Photo by Leonard McCombe/Life Magazine/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - UNSPECIFIED DATE: American president John and Jackie Kennedy at the American Embassy during 1961 in Paris, France. (Photo by S010/COLLECTION SALINGER/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
The newly-elected President John Fitzgerald Kennedy with wife Jackie after giving the traditional acceptance speech. USA, November 1960 (Photo by Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)
Frank Sinatra escorting Jacqueline Kennedy to her box at a gala, held at the National Guard Armory in Washington DC, the night before the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy, 19th January 1961. The gala was staged by Sinatra to help pay off the campaign debts of Kennedy and the Democratic Party. (Photo by GAB Archive/Redferns)
Portrait of American First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy (1960 - 1999) in the Red Room of the White House, Washington DC, January 15, 1962. During the filming of a CBS News Special program called 'A Tour of the White House with Mrs. John F. Kennedy,' she stands in front of an Alfred Wordsworth Thompson painting of the Civil War battle at Balls Bluff, Virginia. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)
The President and Mrs. Kennedy attend a White House Ceremony February 19, 1963. (Photo by National Archive/Newsmakers)
First Lady Jackie Kennedy speaks to a guest while attending a White House ceremony January 8, 1963 in Washington, DC. (Photo by National Archive/Newsmakers)
UNITED STATES : A contemporary report ran: ?Caroline, five, moves into the big time. Big day for a small girl. The day she moved from the junior to the senior class. The day she rode not her own pony, Macaroni, but mother?s horse, Rufus, with her mother. The girl is Caroline Kennedy, five-year-old daughter of America?s President John Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline.? President Kennedy was assassinated later that year, on November 22. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
18th October 1968: Millionaire shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis (1906 - 1975) with his wife Jackie (Bouvier Kennedy, 1929 - 1994). (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)
Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Caroline Kennedy (left), John F. Kennedy, Jr., and Lee Rodziwill (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Jackie Onassis, Anthony Radziwill, and Tina Radziwill (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Jackie Onassis during Jackie Kennedy and Family Shopping in Capri - August 24, 1970 in Capri, Italy. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Jackie Kennedy Onassis in Capri, Italy. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Jackie Onassis (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Jackie Onassis with son John Kennedy Jr during Jackie Onassis Sighting at the Philharmonic Hall - December 13, 1971 at The Philharmonic Hall in New York City, United States. (Photo by Tom Wargacki/WireImage)
Washington, D.C. May 14th 1976. Jackie Onassis and Alexandrje Orfila at The Kennedy Center (Photo by Tom Wargacki/WireImage)
Jackie Onassis and Alex Orfila during OAS Party following the Kennedy Center Gala at Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
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The Times reports that Ormsby Gore was skeptical of Kennedy's marriage to Aristotle Onassis; a decision she addressed in her missive. She wrote that Onassis was "lonely and wants to protect [her] from being lonely. And he is wise and kind." She continued, "Only I can decide if he can, and I decided. I know it comes as a surprise to so many people. But they see things for me that I never wanted for myself."
All of this occurred during a dark period for Kennedy, who, as biographer Barbara Leamingwrote in Vanity Fair in 2014, suffered from what would now be diagnosed as post-traumatic stress disorder after witnessing her husband's assassination.
Ormsby Gore, too, had undergone a traumatic experience. His wife Sylvia (Sissie) died in a car crash in May of 1967.
Eighteen handwritten letters and one typed letter from Kennedy were found among the papers in Ormsby Gore's home. The collection also contains a draft that he wrote to Kennedy after she turned down his proposal. In it, he recounted the memories the two had shared together.
"All the pathetic plans I had brought with me for visits to Cyrenaica, holidays near one another and a whole variety of solutions to our marriage problem, including one for a secret marriage this summer—plans which I saw us eagerly discussing, calmly and with complete frankness as we did at the Cape and in Cambodia for the next wonderful ten days—all had become irrelevant trash to be thrown away within a few hours of my landing in New York."
Ormsby Gore, who inherited the title Lord Harlech upon his father's death in 1964, advised President Kennedy on such delicate issues as the Cuban missile crisis. Jackie, though thankful for Ormsby's service, seemed to be firm in her insistence that the two would not be a match.
"Please know—you of all people must know it—that we can never really see into the heart of another," she wrote. "You know me. And you must know that the man you write of in your letter is not a man that I could marry."
Ormsby Gore's grandson Jasset Ormsby Gore, who last year inherited the title of Lord Harlech, will be selling the letters, among more of his grandfather's possessions, at a March 29 auction at Bonhams in London.