Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Tim Shriver both gave eulogies at her service

By Rachel DeSantis
August 05, 2019 04:18 PM

Saoirse Kennedy Hill, the 22-year-old granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy, was laid to rest Monday in Massachusetts in a private burial attended by her family following an emotional funeral service with a eulogy from uncle Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Her funeral took place earlier Monday at Our Lady of Victory Church, not far from the Kennedys’ storied compound on Cape Cod, before she was buried at nearby Saint Francis Xavier’s cemetery in Centerville.

The coffin of Courtney Kennedy Hill’s only child with Paul Hill was carried by pallbearers including her father, uncle Chris Kennedy and cousins Conor Kennedy and Rep. Joseph Kennedy III.

Her uncle Robert and Tim Shriver, her mother’s first cousin, both gave eulogies at her service, according to a copy of the program shared later.

“There were lots of tears, lots of talk about Saoirse,” a source in attendance tells PEOPLE.

The program also included lyrics from the Beyoncé song “XO” as well as a reworked version of the traditional Irish song “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.”

Saoirse’s name — which means “freedom” in Gaelic — was substituted into the song’s lyrics, printed alongside a smiling photo of her.

From left: Maria Shriver, Courtney Kennedy Hill and Sydney Lawford McKelvy after Saoirse Kennedy Hills’ funeral on Monday.
BACKGRID; Inset: Kerry Kennedy/Twitter

Saoirse died at the family’s Massachusetts compound on Thursday after a suspected overdose.

Her family confirmed her death in a statement to PEOPLE, saying their hearts were “shattered” by the loss.

“Her life was filled with hope, promise, and love,” the family said. “She cared deeply about friends and family, especially her mother Courtney, her father Paul, her stepmother Stephanie, and her grandmother Ethel.”

Family matriarch Ethel Kennedy, 91, said: “The world is a little less beautiful today.”

“She lit up our lives with her love, her peals of laughter and her generous spirit,” Saoirse’s family said. “[She] was passionately moved by the causes of human rights and women’s empowerment and found great joy in volunteer work, working alongside indigenous communities to build schools in Mexico. We will love her and miss her forever.”

Courtney Kennedy Hill (in blue) and Paul Hill (in black tie) leave their daughter’s funeral
Saoirse Kennedy Hill
Kerry Kennedy/Instagram

Saoirse’s funeral came one day after a wake and mass was held at Ethel’s home.

A source in attendance told PEOPLE the gathering included Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of late President John F. Kennedy, and Maria Shriver and her children with Arnold Schwarzenegger, among others.

Saoirse’s cause of death is pending a toxicology report, authorities have said. Both local and state police are investigating.

She was a rising senior at Boston College where she studying communications.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “home” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to

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• With reporting by LIZ McNEIL