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A successful lawyer, Victoria Kennedy became a well-known figure in Washington, D.C., when she married Senator Ted Kennedy in 1992.
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Born on February 26, 1954, in Crowley, Louisiana, Victoria Reggie Kennedy graduated with a law degree from Tulane University in 1979. Her successful legal career included a clerkship for Judge Robert A. Sprecher, and a partnership at Keck, Mehin and Cate. Victoria became a household name in 1990, after meeting Senator Ted Kennedy at an anniversary party she threw for her parents. The couple began dating,
and were married in 1992. They were considered one of Washington's best-known couples, until Ted's death in 2009.
Born on February 26, 1954, in Crowley, Louisiana, as one of six children, Victoria Reggie Kennedy had ties to America's best known political family long before she even began involved with Senator Ted Kennedy. Her father Edmund was a judge and banker who was active in the Democratic Party. He served as the Louisiana campaign organizer for John F. Kennedy's presidential bid in 1960 and Robert F. Kennedy's attempt in 1968. Edmund also supported Ted Kennedy for president in 1980.
Victoria Reggie Kennedy excelled during her school years. "She never made less than an A from kindergarten through high school," her father told People magazine. After high school, she attended the H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College at Tulane University, where she majored in English.
Before starting law school at Tulane, Victoria spent the summer as an intern in the mailroom of Senator Ted Kennedy's office in Washington, D.C. "We met one day for three minutes," she explained to The New York Times, adding that the Senator later had "no recollection" of their initial meeting.
Kennedy graduated from Tulane in 1979, and moved to Chicago where she became a clerk for Judge Robert A. Sprecher, a member of the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. In 1980, she married attorney Grier Raclin and the couple relocated to Washington, D.C. They had two children together, Curran and Caroline, before divorcing in 1990. Kennedy maintained a successful legal career in D.C., becoming a partner at Keck, Mehin and Cate.
During the summer of 1990, she met Senator Kennedy for a second time. He was a guest at the 40th anniversary party that Victoria threw for her parents. After the event, the two began dating. Kennedy proposed to Victoria in January 1992.
Married that July, Victoria and Ted quickly became one of Washington's best-known couples. She was an active supporter of her husband, joining him for countless fund-raisers and political events. "I don't think they spent maybe two or three nights apart in all the 17 years they were married," said television journalist Bob Schieffer in describing the couple. "She was truly the light of his life. And I think, in many ways, changed his life."
In May 2008, Ted Kennedy announced that he had a brain tumor. Victoria helped her husband cope with this challenging diagnosis. "In that first, week, when the diagnosis came—how she put the entire medical profession through their paces," Joseph Kennedy Jr., a nephew of the senator, later told The New York Times.
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There's no such thing as royalty in the United States, but if anyone has ever come close to that level, it's the Kennedy family. For 64 years, Washington had at least one Kennedy in public office. Descended from Irish Catholics who fled the potato famine, the family has a strong tradition in the Democratic party, the most prominent member being President John F. Kennedy. In addition to fame and political power, the Kennedy clan has had more than its fair share of tragedy—several members of the family have died in accidents and assassinations, in what's been called the "Kennedy curse."
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