The Bouvier Sisters

From the time she was born, Jackie was a daddy's girl, with a creamy complexion, thick brunette hair, and inquisitive brown eyes. When she was little, he lavished her with encouragement and praise. As she grew older, he expressed pride in her accomplishments. They shared confidences and a unique emotional bond. Even when Jackie became aware that her father was a womanizing, functional alcoholic, she accepted his failings unconditionally. Throughout her life she regarded him as a dashing, charismatic figure. She was clearly his favorite, which became an unspoken source of tension between Jackie and her sister. Caroline Lee Bouvier, four years younger than Jackie, went by her middle name in an effort to please her maternal grandfather.


“From the beginning it was a rivalry in which Lee, except for brief periods, was always the loser, Jackie the star. Lee felt this most strongly in their relationship with their father: Black Jack adored both his daughters and was proud of their looks and accomplishments, but his passion for Jackie (and hers for him) was overriding and semi-incestuous.”

— Sarah Bradford, America's Queen

Even as young children, Jackie and Lee had a complicated relationship. On one hand, they were as close as any two sisters, being playmates and companions. Lee looked up to Jackie, who in turn felt protective of her younger sibling. But their innate devotion to each other was tempered by an undercurrent of rivalry for the affection, attention, and pride of their parents, in particular Black Jack.

Although knowing Jackie was the favorite hurt Lee, there was little she could do about it. She lacked Jackie's riding skills and general athleticism. Being four years younger, Lee would always be overshadowed by the accomplishments of her vivacious big sister. It was a dynamic that would fester throughout their childhood and youth.

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