On February 15th, 2019, Lee Radziwill passed away at the age of 85. The former American princess and historic style icon explored many professional careers and pursued various passion projects. However, magazines and television reporters paid homage to Radziwill by remarking that she was the younger sister of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. A minimal and disappointing tribute to a remarkable woman who was determined to build a legacy of her own.
Throughout her life, starting from childhood, Lee Radziwill was always observed through the comparative lens of her older sister. Like any pair of siblings, the Bouvier sisters competed in petty rivalries, in regards to clothes, talents, and boys. While their mother Janet prohibited competition, she tended to favor Jacqueline, as she believed the older sister was far more intellectual than little Lee.
During the early phases of her career path, Radziwill pursued fashion and worked under the esteemed editor, Diana Vreeland. She later posed for fashion editorials and wrote pieces about new designer collections. Radziwill was heralded as a style icon and rubbed shoulders with Truman Capote and Mick Jagger, while historians continuously argued which Bouvier sister was the most fashionable.
When Jacqueline moved into the White House and became First Lady of the United States, Radziwill's life was under public scrutiny. She was required to be extra cautious of her every public move, in order to avoid causing a disruption within the presidency and not create a scandal. When her marriage failed, she was asked not to file for divorce. While Jacqueline captured the world's adoration, Lee was left to play second fiddle once more.
Throughout the '60s, Radziwill pursued various passion projects and decided to become an actress. Preparation was rushed and her debut in a Chicago theatre resulted in public embarrassment and humiliation. Members of Manhattan's high society flocked to see the little sister of Jacqueline Kennedy, only to point and laugh.
While Lee Radziwill lived an adventurous life with ups and downs, the public consciousness will always remember her as being the sister of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. A personal anecdote can be used to exemplify, as a recent purchase of People's Magazine placed several photographs of Jacqueline Kennedy's outfits. Lee Radziwill's tribute only took up one page.