Last the the Kennedy brothers who, as us ambassador to Ireland, made remarkable contributions come the tranquility process

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Jean Kennedy Smith through her brother, President john F Kennedy, at a baseball video game at Griffith stadion in Washington, 1961. Photograph: AP
Jean Kennedy Smith through her brother, President john F Kennedy, in ~ a baseball game at Griffith stadium in Washington, 1961. Photograph: AP

Although her mommy once explained her together “being born so late she was just able to gain the tragedies and not the triumphs” of gift a Kennedy, as the critical survivor that the nine children of Joseph ns Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald, Jean Kennedy blacksmith enjoyed an ext than she share of both.

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Considered the shyest of the Kennedy siblings, Jean maintained a low public profile yet despite keeping her privacy ended up being an admirable public servant, fostering the arts and care for disabled children, and also serving as united state ambassador come Ireland during the toughest work of the north Ireland peace process, and playing a controversial role in part of its success.

Jean, who has passed away aged 92, was the eighth of the ripe Kennedy children. Her earliest brother, Joseph Jr, was eliminated when a drone bomber he to be piloting explosive prematurely throughout the second world war. She sister catalent (“Kick”) passed away in a plane crash in 1948, while Rosemary (“Rose”), was preserved out of the public’s and also the family’s sight after being institutionalised and lobotomised, and also died in 2005.

Her brother man was elected president in 1960 and assassinated three years later; Jean and also her husband were v Bobby on his 1968 presidential project when he as well was gunned down. Patricia, that was briefly married come the actor Peter Lawford, died in 2006. Once her sister Eunice passed away in august 2009, Jean elected to continue to be by she younger brothers Edward’s bedside rather than attend the funeral; he died 18 work later.


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Jean Kennedy Smith, far right, with seven of her siblings: native left, Joseph Jr, John, Rosemary, Kathleen, Eunice, Patricia and also Bobby in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, 1931. Your youngest brother, Edward, to be born the following year. Photograph: Richard Sears/John F Kennedy Library Foundation/AFP/Getty ImagesJean was born in Brookline, Massachusetts. Back she was raised in an atmosphere of privilege, her parents were barely ~ above speaking state through lot of her early childhood; her father, a rich businessman, movie producer and also politician, brought on a really public affair v the movie star Gloria Swanson. She closest link was v Ted, 4 years younger.

The family members lived in London after her father to be appointed ambassador to the court the St James in 1938; his controversial tenure included his making direct and also unauthorised ideologies to Hitler, and also criticising US assistance for Britain throughout the battle of Britain. After he moved the family to the nation during the blitz he was checked out by the British as defeatist, and, eventually, under severe push from chairman Franklin D Roosevelt’s state department and also public opinion in ~ home, the resigned.

Like her sisters Eunice and Rose, Jean to visit Manhattanville, a roman inn Catholic women’s college in Purchase, brand-new York, wherein she studied English, and her friends contained two future sisters-in-law, Ethel Skakel, that married Bobby, and Ted’s very first wife, Joan Bennett. In 1956 she married Stephen Smith, one executive through Cleary Bros, his family’s company of Hudson flow tugs and also barges. He shortly took fee of the Park Agency, which managed the Kennedy family members investments; these consisted of the real estate on which Lincoln center in brand-new York was built, and the world’s largest commercial building, the Chicago merchandise Mart.

In 1960 she and her husband campaigned because that her brother John, who ended up being the very first Roman Catholic united state president; her husband to be appointed JFK’s project manager for his 1964 re-election, reduced off by his assassination. In 1964, President lindon Johnson appointed she a trustee of Washington’s new Kennedy center for the Performing Arts, a article to i m sorry she to be reappointed by every successive new president. In 1974, she founded an extremely Special art (now recognized as VSA), a programme to encourage joining in the art by disabled children and develop art therapy.


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Jean Kennedy Smith, centre, in ~ a conference in the White home on St Patrick’s work 1993 between the ireland prime minister Albert Reynolds, right, and also the us president bill Clinton. Photograph: Paul J Richards/AFP/Getty ImagesIn 1968, Stephen Smith controlled Bobby Kennedy’s presidential campaign; he and Jean were at the Ambassador hotel in Los Angeles when, having won the California democratic primary, Bobby was shot. His death left the campaign millions of dollars of debt, and also Smith took fee of satisfying the creditors, frequently driving tough bargains, yet settling the matter from family members funds. Eleven years later, blacksmith would as soon as again be tapped as Ted’s campaign manager, however some Kennedy staffers found him out of touch together Teddy shed the autonomous party’s 1980 nomination to Jimmy Carter.

After that, the Smiths preserved a low public profile, and in 1990 Stephen passed away from lung cancer. A couple of months later, your younger son, William, was accused that rape in Palm Beach; he was acquitted after ~ a extremely publicised trial i m sorry revealed the Ted Kennedy had regularly cruised Palm coast nightclubs through his nephews.

In 1993, President invoice Clinton appointed Jean Kennedy smith ambassador to Ireland. She was adhering to in she father’s footsteps as an ambassador and had accompanied president Kennedy to Ireland in June 1963, so her return hosted special memories for her.

She was crucial in the granting in 1994 that a united state visa because that the very first time come the Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, a decision the was opposed strongly by part state department officials attached come the Dublin embassy. She retaliation against them drew a rebuke from the united state secretary of state Warren Christopher. She would later on be accused of bullying embassy staff and spending windy money on personal improvements come the ambassador’s official residence. Additional charges of dispute of attention were addressed in 2000 as soon as she payment $5,000 in compensation.

But during her time as ambassador, she made significant public contribute to the tranquility process, consisting of taking communion in the Church of Ireland, and also taking a bit-part in the 1996 film Michael Collins. Most importantly, her treatment with the IRA leader Joe Cahill was watched as instrumental in acquiring Sinn Féin had in the tranquility talks, and helping come reinstate the ceasefire. It was additionally during she tenure the the us Senator George Mitchell issued the report that led the means for the an excellent Friday agreement. Once Kennedy smith left the write-up in 1998, she to be made an honorary citizens of Ireland. At the moment she said: “I was a cog, really, in the an equipment that to be moving. I was fortunate come be below to perhaps include momentum come what was happening.”

In January 2008, along with Ted, Eunice and her niece, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, she publicly endorsed Barack Obama’s candidacy because that the democratic nomination because that president end Hillary Clinton. In a moving piece because that the Huffington Post, she quoted the Nobel tranquility prize winner man Hume’s call for America to be a “moral power”, and concluded: “As i think earlier on my brothers’ lives and John Hume’s words and also example, I recognize that mine experience, my conscience, and my heart all allude to Barack Obama, the messenger that hope, that speaks to the same principle of unity and also the common an excellent that john Hume and also my brothers thought in.” It was a fitting coda come the heritage of her generation that Kennedys.

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Kennedy smith is endured by two sons, Stephen Jr and William, and also two daughters, Amanda and Kym.

Jean Ann Kennedy Smith, public servant, born 20 February 1928; died 17 June 2020