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Remembering John F. Kennedy Jr.: His Life In Pictures

Madeline Hiltz
(Photo Credit: Bettmann/ Getty Images and Lawrence Schwartzwald/ Getty images)

John F. Kennedy Jr. grew up in the spotlight, commonly thought of as America’s son. In fact, his uncle, who delivered his eulogy, told mourners that, “from the first day of his life, John seemed to belong not only to our family, but to the American family.” Here, we take a look back at John F. Kennedy Jr.’s life in pictures.

Early life in the White House

Kennedy Family, 1961

The Kennedy Family at the White House, February 1961. From left to right- John F. Kennedy, Caroline Kennedy, John F. Kennedy Jr., and Jacqueline Kennedy. (Photo Credit: John F. Kennedy Library/ Stringer/ Getty Images)

John F. Kennedy Jr. was born on November 25, 1960. He was the second child born to former U.S. President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.

John F. Kennedy jr. exploring Kennedy's desk

John F. Kennedy Jr. exploring his father’s desk in the White House, circa May 1962. (Photo Credit: Bettmann/ Getty Images)

After John F. Kennedy was elected president, John Jr. and his older sister Caroline would explore and frolic in the Oval Office while their father worked.

Kennedy and his children in Oval Office

President John F. Kennedy working in the Oval Office while Caroline and John F. Kennedy Jr. play, October 10, 1962. (Photo Credit: Smith Collection/ Gado/ Getty Images)

On his third birthday, John F. Kennedy captured hearts around the world when he saluted his father’s coffin during the funeral procession. According to Steven M. Gillon’s 2019 book, America’s Reluctant Prince: The Life of John F. Kennedy Jr., the young boy continued to ask people if they could take him to see his dad after JFK was killed.

JFK Jr. salutes the casket to JFK

John F. Kennedy Jr. saluting his father’s casket as it is carried from St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington, D.C. (Bettmann/ Getty Images)

Trying to stay out of the public eye

JFK Jr., Jacqueline Kennedy, Caroline Kennedy meeting the Queen

John F. Kennedy Jr., Jaqueline Kennedy, Caroline Kennedy, and Robert Kennedy meeting the Queen during a ceremony to unveil a monument to John F. Kennedy at Runnymede. (Photo Credit: Evening Standard/ Stringer/ Getty Images)

After John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Jacqueline Kennedy moved her family to an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City. In 1965, Britain dedicated a memorial to the late president at Runnymede. During this memorial dedication ceremony, JFK Jr. met Queen Elizabeth II.

JFK Jr. driving a motor boat

JFK Jr. driving a speed boat at the Onassis beach house in Greece, July 1970. (Photo Credit: Ron Galella/ Getty Images)

After Robert Kennedy was assassinated in 1968, Jacqueline Kennedy moved her children out of the United States. That same year, she married shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis, and the family moved to his private island of Skorpios.

JFK Jr skiing

JFK Jr. (right) sticking his tongue out during a holiday at the Crans-sur-Sierre ski resort in Switzerland, December 27, 1974. (Photo Credit: James Andanson/ Getty Images)

During his adolescent years, JFK Jr. attended a number of different private schools, including Saint David’s School and Collegiate School. He eventually graduated high school at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.

JFK Jr. in the play Volpone

John F. Kennedy Jr. as Bonario, a professional soldier in the play Volpone, during his freshman year at Brown University, circa March 1980. (Photo Credit: Bettmann/ Getty Images)

In 1979, JFK Jr. was a freshman at Brown University where he majored in American studies. During his time at Brown, JFK Jr. took an interest in acting, and appeared in many productions during his four years as a student there.

JFK Jr. at his graduation

John F. Kennedy Jr. at his graduation from Brown University where he graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in History, circa 1983. (Photo Credit: Bettmann/ Getty Images)

In 1983, he graduated from Brown University with a Bachelor of Arts in History.

Starting his career

JFK Jr. at democratic convention

John F. Kennedy Jr. introducing his uncle, Senator Edward Kennedy, at the 1988 Democratic National Convention. (Photo Credit: Bettmann/ Getty Images)

After Kennedy Jr. graduated from Brown, he took a job with the New York City Office of Business Development, where he worked as a deputy director until 1986. In 1988, he became a summer associate at an LA law firm that had strong connections to the Democratic Party. Although he steered away from a profession in politics, he nonetheless had strong ties in the political world. When he was 27 years old, he introduced his uncle, Senator Edward Kennedy, at the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia.

JFK Jr. at graduation

John F. Kennedy Jr. graduates from Law School at New York University, 1989. (Photo Credit: Bettmann/ Getty Images)

In 1989, Kennedy earned a J.D. degree from the New York University School of Law. However, he failed the New York bar exam two times before eventually passing on his third try in July 1990. After passing the bar, he took a job as an assistant district attorney in New York City. However, this profession was short-lived as in 1995, he launched his political magazine George.

‘Sexiest Man Alive’

John F. Kennedy Jr and Daryl Hannah

John F. Kennedy and Daryl Hannah at the wedding of JFK Jr.’s cousin, Edward Kennedy Jr., in Rhode Island, circa October 1993. (Photo Credit: Brooks Kraft/ Getty Images)

In 1988, JFK Jr. was named People’s “Sexiest Man Alive.” His private life was often publicized, and he was romantically linked to a number of Hollywood celebrities, including Madonna, Daryl Hannah, Cindy Crawford, and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Marriage and later life

JFK Jr. and Carolyn Bessette

JFK Jr. and his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, circa 1998. (Photo Credit: George De Sota/ Getty Images)

In 1994, Kennedy started dating Calvin Klein publicist Carolyn Bessette. In 1995, the couple became engaged and were married in a secret ceremony off the coast of Georgia in September 1996.

JFK Jr kissing Carolyn Bessette

John F. Kennedy Jr. kissing Carolyn Bessette a kiss on the cheek during the 1999 Annual White House Correspondents dinner. (Photo Credit: Tyler Mallory/ Getty Images)

Carolyn had difficulty adjusting to the paparazzi and constantly being in the public eye. JFK Jr. initially believed that once he was married, the paparazzi would leave them alone, but unfortunately, it was the opposite. While JFK Jr. was used to being in the public eye, Carolyn wasn’t. This put a strain on their marriage.

Members of the Kennedy and Bessette families embrace

Members of the Kennedy and Bessette families embrace at the stern of the Coast Guard ship Sanibel as they prepare to travel to the U.S.S. Briscoe 22 July, 1999 for the burial at sea of John F. Kennedy Jr., Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and Lauren Bessette’s ashes. (Photo Credit: MATT CAMPBELL/AFP via Getty Images)

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On July 16, 1999, JFK Jr., Carolyn Bessette, and her sister Lauren Bessette were on their way to Cape Cod for a wedding. JFK Jr. had recently obtained his pilot’s licence and was flying the Bessette sisters in a single-engine plane. Sadly, the plane crashed into the Atlantic, and on July 21, Navy divers located the bodies of JFK Jr., Carolyn Bessette, and Lauren Bessette. John F. Kennedy Jr. was only 38 years old when he died.