Saturday 18 November 2017

Suicide wasn't my fault, says RFK Jr as funeral splits family

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., left, kneels with his children at the casket of Mary Richardson Kennedy, in St. Francis Xavier Cemetery in Centerville, Mass. Photo: AP
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., left, kneels with his children at the casket of Mary Richardson Kennedy, in St. Francis Xavier Cemetery in Centerville, Mass. Photo: AP
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., left, and his children turn away after paying their respects at the casket of Mary Richardson Kennedy, in St. Francis Xavier Cemetery in Centerville, Mass., Saturday, May 19, 2012. Mary Richardson Kennedy.
Mary Richardson Kennedy died of died of asphyxiation, says US coroner (AP)
Robert F. Kennedy and his estranged wife Mary Richardson Kennedy. Photo: AP

Rosa Prince in New York

ROBERT Kennedy Jr has insisted that he was not responsible for his wife's suicide, as the feud dividing the family led her six siblings to stay away from her funeral.

Delivering a eulogy to his estranged wife Mary, Mr Kennedy, the son of the assassinated attorney-general Robert F Kennedy and nephew of former US President John F Kennedy, spoke of her troubled life and admitted that she resented him for asking her to give up her career to have children.

Mary Richardson Kennedy's family went to court last Friday to try to stop her being interred in a Kennedy family plot in Centerville, Massachusetts.

But the burial went ahead following a funeral service at St Patrick's Church in Bedford, New York, attended by stars including the actors Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, Glenn Close, Susan Sarandon and Larry David, and the tennis champion John McEnroe.

Representatives from the Kennedy clan included Ethel Kennedy, Mr Kennedy's mother and RFK's widow; Caroline Kennedy, John F Kennedy's daughter; and Maria Shriver, another cousin, who is married but separated from Arnold Schwarzenegger, the actor-turned-California governor.

In his tearful eulogy, twice-married Mr Kennedy told mourners how his troubled wife had telephoned him the day before she was found hanging from a barn in the home they once shared in upstate New York.

He said: "The day before she died, she called me and said, 'You know me better than anyone in the world.' She said, 'I was such a good girl.' I said, 'I know you are and you still are.'

"She really fought so hard. She had these demons, and she didn't deserve it. I know I did everything I could to help her."

Mrs Kennedy's friends have suggested that she was distraught at the separation from her husband, who filed for divorce in 2010 but had not completed the process. He is now in a relationship with Cheryl Hines, the star of the television show 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'.

Mrs Kennedy (52) had battled with alcohol and is also reported to have had a history of addiction to prescription drugs.

But in his address, Mr Kennedy (58) appeared to suggest another reason for his wife's unhappiness -- her decision to leave the trendy neighbourhood of Soho in downtown Manhattan for the suburban commuter town of Mount Kisco, and to give up a promising career as an architect to care for the couple's four children.

He said: "She was a Soho girl. She blamed me from taking her away from her profession. She was the most extraordinary woman I ever met. I had feelings for her that I will never have for another human being. Her greatest quality was her courage."

Mr Kennedy's six children all attended the service, and his son and daughter from his first marriage, Robert F Kennedy III (28) and Kathleen (23), were pallbearers along with their half brothers, Conor (18) and Aiden (11), and father. Daughter Kyra (16) read a psalm. The couple's third son, William (14) was also among the 300 mourners.

Her casket was placed in a new row a short distance away from other Kennedy graves. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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