Did step-bro hold the train of Jackie K's wedding gown?

I've heard varying accounts about James Auchincloss' involvement in the wedding of his stepsister, Jackie, to John F. Kennedy. I've read that he carried the train of Jackie's wedding dress, but also heard that he didn't. Inquiring minds want to know. Can you shed any light on the subject?

— Katherine L., by email

James Auchincloss, an Ashland man who is in jail on a parole violation, was definitely part of the event when Jacqueline Lee Bouvier and John F. Kennedy were married Sept. 12, 1953, in St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Newport, R.I.

We're certain he did not hold the wedding-dress train, because Jackie's dress did not have a long train. She did, however, wear a long bridal veil that her grandmother had worn in her wedding.

But whether James Auchincloss held the end of the long veil of the future first lady's dress as she walked up the aisle is unclear. According to a lengthy report in the New York Times on the day after the wedding, James Lee Auchincloss was part of the bridal procession. He is described as "attired in short, black, velvet trousers and a white, silk shirt embellished with a lace jabot and cuffs." He was also described as a page, but there was no reference to whether he preceded the bride or trailed her carrying the end of the veil.

Auchincloss' involvement in the wedding is of interest locally because of his conviction in 2010 on two felony counts of first-degree encouraging child sexual abuse, related to his possession of child pornography on his computer.

In those happier, pre-Camelot days, however, he was a wide-eyed 6-year-old participating in a high-society wedding. JFK was a U.S. senator from Massachusetts at the time and the wedding attendees included numerous political power brokers, with a U.S. senator listed among the ushers and the Peruvian ambassador and his wife among the guests. The Times reported that it took nearly two hours for guests to pass through the reception line following the wedding.

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier was the daughter of John Bouvier III and Janet Norton Lee. After their divorce, Janet Lee married Standard Oil heir Hugh D. Auchincloss, Jr. in 1942, and later gave birth to Jackie's half-sister and half-brother, Janet and James Auchincloss.

As for the story of James Auchincloss carrying the wedding train — a detail prominently featured in an Associated Press story after Auchincloss ran afoul of the law — it apparently originated from an interview he did with Larry King in 2003, on the 50th anniversary of the wedding, but has since been called into question.

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