Now like all my stories, I take the well known line, then add the unknown to it to make it more interesting, if that is possible!

I was stationed in North America when Kennedy was assassinated and not too long afterwards visited Arlington as a group to pay our respects. Since that time, my wife and I have been back twice to Washington DC and to his shrine of the eternal flame, en-route to other US locations. There are two ex-Presidents buried at Arlington but the splendor of their graves is very marked indeed, with President Taft's tomb-stone very missable.  Subsequent to JFK's burial, two of the deceased children of his marriage to Jacqueline [see below] were exhumed from their original graves in different areas of the country and were reburied with their father: later on, Jacqueline herself was buried alongside her husband.  I have several magazines covering that dreadful event each with many pictures but my favourite is this one - click HERE . American's have a long and well established anything goes freedom of information act. Within two days of his death, pictures of Lee Harvey Oswald's  {JFK's assassin} autopsy were splashed over the front cover of certain papers/magazines which left absolutely nothing to the imagination {disgusting to most people}. However, State sponsored photographs were also issued, and although still graphic they were toned-down but still not for the eyes of the squeamish! - click HERE . In November 1966, three years on from the month of his assassination, the full official autopsy photographs of John F Kennedy were released by the Kennedy family into the US National Archives. One day, just like all US high profile people pictures, we will be able to view the grisly sight of JFK's body after the necessary butchery of the pathologist knife.  However, that will not be until all of JFK's IMMEDIATE family have themselves passed on.  So who are they and what are the chances that YOU will see these pictures?

The Kennedy's had five pregnancies. The first was miscarried, the second a still-born girl which they named Arabella*, the third a daughter Caroline, the fourth  JFK Junior, the fifth, delivered less than four months before JFK's murder by emergency caesarean, a boy, Patrick*, who lived for just 39 hours:  * these two children are buried at Arlington. JFK Junior died in a plane crash in 1999 at the age of 38. He was the owner of the plane and the pilot. With him died his wife Carolyn and his sister-in-law. Their bodies were recovered from the Atlantic Ocean coastal areas, cremated privately, and their ashes taken to sea in the destroyer USS Briscoe. He died without issue leaving much of his wealth to his sisters three children, his nieces and nephew. Thus, that left Caroline, the only surviving child of the Kennedy's. Caroline is now aged 57 [2015] is married, has three children, and is currently the US Ambassador to Japan. She, her husband and those three children are the IMMEDIATE family of JFK. Caroline's children, two girls and a boy were born in the years 1988, 1990 and 1993. Given the clinically accepted longevity as being in the mid 80's [but remembering the sad luck of the Kennedy's] the youngest, a boy John, might live until 2078. There appears to be no universal definition of what an immediate family is, and in the USA, different States have difference rules. However, the general consensus seems to be that it stops after grandchildren, so any issue born to Caroline's children will not be spared the imagines of their great grandfather AFTER the deaths of their parents and blood aunties/uncle.  Read this file . In the last paragraph stating the application of the limitations, these refer to qualified medical professionals only in the lifetime of those mentioned names. There is now only one of them alive and that is Caroline. Until her death, qualified medical people will still need to get her permission. So, for those wanting to see these deeply saddening but yet historic photographs, dig in and be prepared for a long wait, otherwise bookmark this story for your kids.

After JFK's murder, Jacqueline Kennedy went abroad to foreign parts. She took her two children Caroline and JFK Jnr firstly to Ireland for a month, to visit the areas directly associated with her husband. Then, later on after the murder of her brother-in-law Robert Kennedy, she fled to Europe, saying the killing spree on the Kennedy's might soon affect her children. What she did in Europe is now well documented, and things didn't go well for her overall.  It is hard to understand the trauma and pain she must have suffered in the 1960's and her motive for leaving the States, albeit temporarily as things worked out, must have been a tough decision.

The tension in the States during that lengthy period {when others called it the swinging 60's}  was caused by sheer bigoted hate led by George Wallace calling for anti-black legislation George Wallace; Malcolm X spreading his Islamic poison and the extreme fascist George Rockwell extolling the virtues of the Nazi Party, whilst a thoroughly decent man called Dr Martin Luther King was asking for equality in the eyes of the Law as they were in the eyes of God, for all people in the so called United States of America. I collected several articles in those days with the usual macabre photographs attached.  Malcolm X, executed by his own kind, Malcolm X was machined gunned with twenty or so bullet wounds into his upper body in New York city;  Robert Kennedy gunned down in Los Angeles California Robert Kennedy limply clutching his rosary and , one eye shut and not far off certified death and  Politics of Hate; Martin Luther King murdered by his own colour activist though of a less forgiving kind in Memphis shown in his coffin.  the dreadful and hated US NAZI leader George Lincoln Rockwell was murdered at Arlington Virginia.  This is a rare view of President Kennedy's homicide report after his murder in Dallas DALLAS HOMICIDE.jpeg .

The Presidential Funeral [the equivalent to our State Funeral] took the form of a laying overnight at his home in the White House, in the same room and on the same catafalque used for the assassinated President Lincoln nearly 100 years before, followed by a ceremonial transfer to the Rotunda in the Capitol [the equivalent to our Westminster Hall] for the official laying-in-state, open to all those wishing to pay their last respects. During that day, twenty three funerals culminating in the burials of veterans took place in Arlington. On the day of the funeral proper the coffin was ceremoniously transferred from the Capitol to the Central Roman Catholic Cathedral.  Here things started to go wrong with an overlong eulogy reading which resulted in a ninety minute service to be followed by a very long motorcade transporting family, friends, dignitaries and visiting VIP's over the River Potomac [on which side stands the Pentagon] to the cemetery, the likes of which we do not have in the UK and I would doubt anywhere else in the world, which few could or would walk routinely, such is the distance involved.

Before I continue, for by now you will have guessed that other things went wrong!

In state matters, our dear Queen, which most would recognise as our Head of State, never attends anybody's funeral unless they are family or are connected by a very special fraternal bond, or the funeral, with her acquiescence, is nominated as a State funeral, as was the case for Sir Winston Churchill, for example.  For other high profile funerals, Her Majesty would ask others to attend on her behalf, and that goes for her husband, through to her children, through to other non-royals down to Lord Lieutenants of County's. In addition of course, Parliament would be represented usually by the Prime  minster, but that too could be delegated to a senior minister, like the Foreign Secretary, or the Deputy Prime Minster. So at Kennedy's funeral, we quite naturally sent our first team. You will not be surprised to hear that the next senior person to the monarch is the Prince of Wales, the heir to the throne, but in 1963, and in November the month in which he was born, Prince Charles was just gone 15 years old, and so HRH The Duke of Edinburgh attended with the Prime Minister Sir Alex Douglas-Home.  Now, protocol dictates that VIP's are in two classes, Royals and Head of State, and Prime Ministers and they are treated quite separately. At the President's funeral interment it was planned that certain groups would stand in pre-planned position around or near to the grave with the family in one position, American VIP's in another etc, and the foreign contingent in another allocated alphabetically by country name.  Regrettably, the vehicles in which they were conveyed arrived at the burial site piecemeal [Royals etc first and Politicians second] took no account of the alphabetical system planned, and the passengers alighted on arrival made their way to the front of the group notwithstanding protocol, of course getting the best positions, and by doing so bringing chaos to the plan.  It is not known whether we were listed as UK, Britain, Great Britain or England, but it  doesn't surprise me to see from the photographs that the French and the Germans plus several others with names alphabetically after those names apart from UK, had pushed to the front, and were able to give personal salutes under the watchful eye of the widow and her family, where we, were no where to be seen in any of the photographs.  There is however, a panoramic picture taken from an overhead position, and after a good search, I found HRH The Duke of Edinburgh towards the middle-to-rear of a large phalanx of mixed Royals and Politicians. I cannot find our Prime Minster. Thus, at the very moment of this sensitive ceremony, we were hardly represented, which, given that Britain  was always considered as the number one ally of the USA and that no other European country save perhaps for Germany, manifest in Kennedy's famous visit and speech in Berlin made five months before his death, namely "ich bin ein Berliner", held the same fraternal bond with the USA, was a great pity.    Two pictures here the front row of VIP at the cemetery with left to right Germany, France, Queen Frederika of Hellenes, Netherlands, Ethiopia and Philippines and the overhead panoramic picture [one picture taken over the join of the magazine] of the same thing, with HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in white and part of the front row in yellow showing the German and the Frenchman. On the other hand this U.S., put down could be because of a British diplomatic blunder, a blunder remember which was a snub to HM The Queen.  In every case in the top list, which I have called the Royal list,  there are Presidents, one Emperor, a King, a Queen, a Princess, seven Princes and one Duke. In hind sight it shouldn't have been The Duke of Edinburgh but instead HRH Prince Phillip, making eight Prince's in all, all with equal status. It is possible that US diplomacy relegated a mere Duke to be the junior member of the group. Clearly, after been married to our Monarch for sixteen years, somebody in the US organisation should have twigged. But then again, they are a Republic and they clearly do not understand a Monarchy especially the oldest on-going non-oppresive working Monarchy in the world. Now finally read this newspaper cutting produced as two separate jpegs which will fill in anything I have missed. JFK's Funeral part 1   ---- JFK's Funeral part 2 and if necessary click twice on these jpegs to open them fully.

As you will read, the snub affected the order of the Parade only, for HRH had a farewell audience with President Johnson before leaving for home, and Sir Alec had his own meetings at his level with our number one ally, and all ended well.

If you ever intend to visit this wonderful national cemetery, there is a rail link from downtown Washington direct to the cemetery. Make sure that you allow a very generous time-frame in order for you to do justice to your experience of this magnificent place of great dignity and peaceful tranquility.