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It declared that her ex-husband was preparing to appear before a Church court to swear that theirs had never been a true marriage.
However, the Boston Archdiocese decided there were grounds that Joe Kennedy was not fit to give full and free consent, and granted the annulment.
Mrs Rauch Kennedy, a Protestant, decided to fight back - saying she was no ' Kennedy doormat'.
It came despite the couple having two boys together - and effectively made them illegitimate in the eyes of the Church. Yesterday, Mrs Rauch Kennedy, whose fight for justice has lasted almost as long as her marriage, said: 'Its been a long haul. 'The annulment totally overlooked the fact that I felt that we had a very strong marriage in the beginning, we had two wonderful children and it lasted.
'I was certainly happy in the beginning...things unravelled, but that doesn't mean you didn't have a marriage.' During the row, the staunchly Catholic Kennedys were accused of using their influence to persuade the Church to agree to the annulment.
Joe Kennedy, now 54, and his then wife went through a civil divorce in 1991 after their relationship broke down. congressman apparently wanted to marry again, in church, and the Vatican does not allow divorced people to take Communion or take part in any of the sacraments, including marriage.