“After Bobby was killed, I took Caroline, Tina, and Anthony on a trip to Mykonos, Greece,” writes Lee Radziwill in her new self-titled book Lee, published by Assouline, referring to the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in June of 1968.
The book includes a chapter on her time on Scorpios with Aristotle Onassis, with whom she had an affair years before he became husband to her sister, former First Lady Jackie Kennedy.
At the time, their affair was perfect fodder for gossip-hungry tabloid media on both sides of the Atlantic which loved anything involving the Greek billionaire, not to mention America’s extended First Family and the closest thing to American “royals,” The Kennedys.
During Spring and Summer 1963, Lee Radziwill had become intimately involved with Onassis. Radziwill marriage to Prince Stanislas Radziwill was deteriorating rapidly and the Onassis/Radziwill affair surfaced in the American press during the Summer of 1963, causing embarrassment for a Kennedy administration hoping for easy reelection in 1964 that didn’t want any scandals.
Onassis had been indicted by the U.S. Government for fraud, was divorced, and for years had carried on an open affair with married opera diva Maria Callas. Europeans did not bat an eye at such things, but Americans still did. Bobby Kennedy asked Jackie to talk Lee into cooling the affair, which Jackie refused to do, according to writer and close friend of Onassis Elios Patronikolas in his many writings on his time with Onassis.
Onassis’ interest in Lee Radziwill was due at least in part, according to Patronikolas, to the fact that she was Jackie’s sister— not to mention the sister-in-law of the most powerful man in the world. Washington Post columnist Drew Pearson once asked, “Does the ambitious Greek tycoon hope to become the brother-in-law of the American President?”
Radziwill and her kids also visited Hydra on that 1963 trip and relaxed on the Greek islands to take their minds off the firestorm that was engulfing the nation following Kennedy’s assassination— a few years after his brother and then President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.