Friday, September 9, 2016


JFK+50:  Volume 6, No. 2064


Boston, Massachusetts (JFK+50) The fifth child and second daughter of Robert and Ethel Kennedy, Mary Courtney Kennedy, was born sixty years ago today, September 9, 1956, here in Boston.

Deborah Sontag, writing in The New York Times, describes Courtney as "the most private" of Bobby and Ethel's brood.  She did not attend college nor did she follow a "traditional career path."  Courtney did, however, consider running for public office but thought better of the idea because she hates to "appear in public."

Courtney was married to Jeffrey Ruhe (1980-1990) and Paul Michael Hill (1993-2006).   Mr. Hill was one of the Guildford Four* who were wrongfully convicted on the charge of involvement in Irish Republican Army acts of terror.

Being a Kennedy is not always easy.  Courtney and Paul's application for an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan was turned down 'because of who (they) were.'  When they attend parties or events, they are reminded about RFK's death.  People say 'I know just how you feel.'  Courtney says to herself, 'No.You don't. I lost my daddy!'

Courtney and Paul lived in Georgetown in the late 1990s and Courtney would often visit RFK's grave at Arlington.  She said those visits made her "happier and stronger, closer to her father."

Courtney worked in pediatric AIDS with the United Nations, and is now a human rights activist.   MCK and Paul have one child who was given the Irish name Saorise Roisin (Freedom Rose) Hill.  She is the only one of 21 grandchildren of RFK and Ethel who does not have the last name Kennedy.

The Hills lived in Ireland from 2002 to 2006, and separated in 2006.

*The Guildford Four were charged and found guilty of handling explosives used during the Provisional IRA bombing of Guildford Pub on Oct 5, 1974. Paul Michael Hill was imprisoned for 15 years as a result.


"Bobby and Ethel's Brood:  The Weight of Legacy," by Adam Cohen, 

"Struggling to Please the Father Who Died," by Deborah Sontag, June 15, 1997, The New York Times,

Ethel Kennedy & 10 of her children