Jackie Kennedy

JACKIE KENNEDY was tormented by a terrible secret until the day she died, The ENQUIRER has learned.

She was haunted by devastating guilt over the death of her fourth child, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy!

The premature infant – born just three months before JFK’s Nov. 22 1963 assassination – suffered from Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome and later in her life Jackie lamented that her heavy cigarette smoking while pregnant cost the baby his life, a  Kennedy family insider reveals.

“Patrick’s death devastated Jackie and the president and the event was a horrible foreshadowing of the end of their days together,” the source said.

“The baby’s death tortured Jackie because she blamed herself over her heavy smoking during the pregnancy and her stress-filled life in the White House.”

Once considered the most beautiful woman in the world, glamorous Jackie had a well-known tobacco habit and can be seen holding a cigarette in candid photos taken when she was pregnant with Patrick.

“But back in those days no one realized the harmful effects of smoking and drinking on unborn babies,” adds the insider.

“It wasn’t until years later that Jackie learned her dangerous habit could have contributed to Patrick’s premature birth which led to the respiratory ailment that killed him.

“From that point she felt tremendous guilt and had many teary breakdowns.”

The source says Jackie always felt inadequate compared to her sister-in-law, Bobby Kennedy’s wife, Ethel, “who cranked babies out like rabbits.

“Jackie dreamed of giving Jack the large family he wanted. But she was plagued with difficult pregnancies.”

Early in their marriage Jackie suffered a heartbreaking miscarriage. In 1956, she delivered a stillborn girl. Caroline was born in 1957 and John Jr. in 1960 via Caesarian deliveries.

“But Patrick’s death was the cruelest blow because the baby represented a fresh start in her troubled marriage to Jack,” says the source.

“When he died, he took part of Jackie with him.”

Patrick was born on Aug. 7, 1963, by emergency C-section nearly six weeks premature and died just 36 hours later.

The Kennedy insider added, “Jackie wasn’t the type of person that could let something like that go. She had so much tragedy in her life, and the loss of Patrick was just one more burden of grief she carried with her till the day she died.”