1 Kennedy Family Yacht Sold For $5.9 Million and Hosted Guests Like Marilyn Monroe and Peter Lawford

Much is told about John Fitzgerald Kennedy, including his rumored affair with America’s beauty Marilyn Monroe and astounding legacy. However, as frequently discussed as his presidential tenure is, not much is known about his family’s expensive boat that sold for $5.9 million and hosted tons of Hollywood film stars, including Monroe and Peter Lawford.

The Kennedy family yacht is 93 feet long

Rows of yachts in a marina area at dock.
Rows of yachts | Getty Images

The Honey Fitz was reportedly a home away from home for the Kennedys. It was also an essential feature of the best years of the late president’s tenure. On board the Honey Fitz, he celebrated his last birthday in 1963 before his assassination shortly after.

The vessel is a beauty both in and out, with several highlights that ring true to its presidential title. It has a stateroom with pillows engraved with the boat’s name on it, a salon that remains true to the times in which the yacht was built, and a dining room that features a cleanly polished dining table accompanied by six seats.

The throw pillows in the salon are all engraved with the Great Seal of the United States. JFK’s desk can also be found in the salon at the corner. The yacht’s bridge has a state-of-the-art console to operate the vessel, while the aft has bold letters of the boat’s name.

According to Boat International, the vessel was used to take visitors to Mount Vernon for state dinners. It also hosted the first family between May and September as they vacationed around Cape Cod. Several A-listers like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes star Monroe and actor and producer Peter Lawford also frequented the Honey Fitz. It also hosted business leaders and statesmen like British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.

‘Honey Fitz’ wasn’t the only yacht in the Kennedy’s possession

As witnessed by their second acquisition, the USS Sequoia, the Kennedys had an evident love for the yachting life. At 104 feet, the government used the USS Sequoia to intercept smugglers during the Prohibition Era. The elegant vessel has hosted several US presidents, including Richard Nixon, who cruised with a host of baseball stars following the 1969 All-Star game.

John Trumpy designed the USS Sequoia with the launch happening in Camden in 1926 at the Mathis Yacht Building Company at approximately $200,000. President Jimmy Carter, however, decommissioned the boat in 1977, and a private company purchased it.

The boat can accommodate more than 21 people, as witnessed during JFK’s birthday party on May 29, 1963, when he hosted 25 friends and his family on the yacht. While several US presidents used the vessel, JFK’s time with the USS Sequoia isn’t well documented as he never took White House photographers with him onboard. At his assassination, the president and his wife were supposed to host a few friends on the yacht two days later.

How the ‘Honey Fitz’ came to be

While the story of JFK’s political ascent is pretty detailed in history books, less is known about whom he was named after. On May 29, 1917, JFK was born to Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., a politician and a businessman, and Rose Kennedy, a socialite, and philanthropist.

He was named after his maternal grandfather John Fitzgerald who served two terms as Mayor of Boston. Known for his animated personality, Boston.com reports that Fitzgerald earned the nickname ‘Honey Fitz’ from his peers.

Fitzgerald was born to poor Irish immigrants in 1863 but slowly ascended to political power from 1891 through the Boston Common Council, the State Senate, and to the House of Representatives in 1894. Although his political career began dwindling in 1917, he remained popular and was instrumental in helping his grandson launch his political career.

Fitzgerald died in 1950, and a decade later, his grandson took the Oath of Office. Shortly after, JFK renamed the yacht (previously named the Lenore) Honey Fitz to honor Fitzgerald’s memory.

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