Kennedy of Camelot

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination President Kennedy. Of all the things people question about his death people never question why his term as president was and still is referred to as Camelot. Where did it come from and why?

Well as opposed to the common misconception that the term was coined by a reporter comparing the Kennedys to royalty is completely wrong. In fact the term was coined by Jacqueline Kennedy in the days following her husband’s murder.

Of all the things Mrs. Kennedy could have called her husband’s presidency where did she get Camelot. This is where the story takes an odd turn.

In 1960, Alan Jay Lerner and Fredrick Loewe debuted Camelot. The musical was based on T.H. White’s “The Once and Future King”. The musical starred Richard Burton as King Arthur and Julie Andrews as Queen Guinevere. The musical faced it final bows in January 1963 (freaked out yeah me too).

In an interview with T.H. White (yes they share the same intitals) on November 29th the First Lady describe how the lines from the finale of the musical kept playing over and over in her head. Why because it was apparently the president’s favorite song. She explains that at night he would like to listen to records and he would often make her play the cast recording of Camelot and he was fond of the finale song. She quoted the lines, “Don’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining that was known as Camelot.”

Certain parts of the interview were featured in Life magazine the following week including the musical and the name stuck. The Kennedys and Camelot are now forever linked by a single haunting refrain.