Tragedy brought the Kennedy family together again on Monday, as they gathered to pay their final respects to Saoirse Kennedy Hill.
Guests gathered at Our Lady of Victory Church to say goodbye to the 22-year-old granddaughter of Ethel Kennedy, 91, and the late US Senator Robert F Kennedy, just days after her death following a suspected drugs overdose.
A somber Ethel was seen arriving behind the hearse in the same car as Saoirse’s mother Courtney, while Maria Shriver, who is Courtney’s cousin, followed soon after with her family.
Most of the family arrived on a fleet of buses to remember their ‘Irish Rose,’ just four days after her passing.
It was too much for Saoirse’s father Paul Hill to handle, and he could be seen collapsing in tears outside the church as he passed by his daughter’s coffin with his estranged wife.
Courtney was stoic and appeared to still be in disbelief as she made her way into the church with her bother Max and second cousin, US Representative Joe Kennedy III.
Saoirse had been just a few miles away at the family’s sprawling compound at Hyannis Port on Thursday when emergency responders found her in cardiac arrest.
The student, who was set to start her senior year at Boston College next month, was later pronounced dead at Cape Cod Hospital.
Overcome: Her father Paul Hill was seen breaking down in tears and reaching out towards his daughter’s coffin as he passed by the hearse
Irish Rose: The funeral for Saoirse Kennedy Hill (above) took place on Monday at Our Lady of Victory Church, just a few miles from the family’s Hyannis Port compound
Difficult day: Saoirse’s mother Courtney is seen in blue, entering the church in between her brother Max Kennedy and her second cousin, US Rep Joe Kennedy III
Grief: Saoirse had been just a few miles away at the family’s sprawling compound at Hyannis Port on Thursday when emergency responders found her in cardiac arrest
Tragedy again: Ethel Kennedy is assisted by her son Max as she enters Our Lady of Victory Church on Monday (above)
Remembering: The funeral program included a photo of Saoirse in the water and a version of When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, using Saoirse’s name
‘Our hearts are shattered by the loss of our beloved Saoirse,’ the Kennedy family said in a statement.
‘She lit up our lives with her love, her peals of laughter and her generous spirit.’
Her grandmother Ethel added: ‘The world is a little less beautiful today.’
Saoirse was the daughter of Courtney Kennedy Hill, the fourth of 11 children born to Ethel and Robert.
Her father Paul Hill was one of the four Irishman wrongly convicted in the 1974 Guildford Club bombing, serving 20 years in prison after he was tortured until he agreed to sign a letter confessing to the act.
Friends of Saoirse lined the steps outside the church on Monday to wait for her coffin to be brought in to the parish.
Among the pallbearers were Max Kennedy, Rep Joseph Kennedy III, Conor Kennedy, Ted Kennedy Jr and William Kennedy Smith.
Final resting: Max Kennedy, Rep Joseph Kennedy III, Conor Kennedy, Ted Kennedy Jr and William Kennedy Smith were among the pallbearers on Monday
Overcome: Maria Shriver stands outside the church with her daughter Christina and brother Anthony on Monday
Final farewell: The Kennedy family arrived in buses (above) behind the hearse carrying Saoirse and limo carrying Ethel and Courtney
Gone too soon: Friends of Saoirse lined up outside the church before her coffin was brought in on Monday morning (above)
Dynasty: Ted Kennedy Jr, Joe Kennedy II and Joe Kennedy lll outside the church on Monday ahead of the services
Troubled times: Members of the Shriver family including Anthony’s son (left) stands outside the church on Monday
Saoirse had written about her struggles with depression in the past.
While attending boarding school at Deerfield Academy in 2016, Saoirse penned an article about her struggles, and revealed that she even considered suicide during one difficult bout with depression, which she compared to an unwanted friend.
‘Two weeks before my junior year began, however, my friend came back and planned to stay. My sense of well-being was already compromised, and I totally lost it after someone I knew and loved broke serious sexual boundaries with me,’ wrote Saoirse.
‘I did the worst thing a victim can do, and I pretended it hadn’t happened. This all became too much, and I attempted to take my own life.’
A preliminary autopsy released last week revealed no signs of trauma and investigators are awaiting toxicology reports.
Heading out: Paul Hill and Ethel Kennedy depart from Our Lady of Victory after mass on Monday (above)
Heading in: The Kennedys, who are the closest thing America has to a royal family, have been plagued by tragedies for decades
Goodbye Saoirse: Friends of the Boston College student file out of the church after the midday mass on Monday
The cover for Saoirse’s funeral program is seen above
The Kennedys, who are the closest thing America has to a royal family, have been plagued by tragedies for decades.
Edward Kennedy, John and Robert’s brother, once even talked about whether there was a ‘curse’ hanging over the family.
That ‘Kennedy curse’ hit half of his siblings, as four of patriarch Joseph Kennedy’s nine children died violently.
The most famous was the assassination of President John F Kennedy on November 22, 1963 during a visit to Dallas, Texas when he was president.
He was just 46 years old.
The eldest son of Joseph and Rose Kennedy, Joseph Jr, was killed in action in August 1944 while serving as a bomber pilot during World War II.
Then in 1948, their second eldest daughter Kathleen died in a plane crash in the south of France aged just 28.
Saoirse’s grandfather Robert ‘Bobby’ Kennedy, who was the attorney general during his brother’s presidency, died in 1968 when he too was assassinated as he campaigned to become the Democratic nominee for president.
John F Kennedy Jr died in a plane crash at the age of 38 that also took the lives of his wife Carolyn and sister-in-law Lauren.
Robert Kennedy’s son David died of a drug overdose in 1984 at the age of 28, and his son Michael died in 1997 while playing football in his skis on a mountain in Aspen.
Ted Kennedy’s daughter Kara died of lung cancer in 2011, after being diagnosed with the disease at the age of 40.
A police motorcade led the hearse as it departed from Our Lady of Victory Church in Centerville Monday
The convoy of vehicles is seen above behind the hearse carrying Saoirse’s coffin as it departed the church Monday
Busloads of mourners followed Saoirse’s hearse on Monday. The Kennedys, who are the closest thing America has to a royal family, have been plagued by tragedies for decades