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'Kennedy Curse': The Tragic Story Behind One Of The United States' Most High-Profiled Families

If the United States were to have a royal family, it would arguably be the Kennedys.

While the Kennedy family legacy is one of great heights -- in American politics, public service, entertainment and business -- it has also been marred by tragedy and heartbreak.

On Friday, Saoirse Roisin Hill, 22, the granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy was found dead, at the family compound in Massachusetts, in the latest of a long string of calamities to plague the family.

READ MORE Robert F. Kennedy's Granddaughter Found Dead At Family Home

What's commonly referred to as the 'Kennedy Curse', encapsulates a series of deaths and accidents that have blighted the history of one of the most powerful families in the U.S. that dates back to the mid 20th century.

The Failed Lobotomy

Born in 1918, Rosemary Kennedy was the oldest sister of John F. Kennedy, and has long been an enigma in history. Often hidden from the outside world because of  an intellectual disability, she suffered seizures and frequent mood swings.

Kathleen Kennedy, Mrs Joseph Kennedy And Rosemary Kennedy In 1938. Photo: Getty

At the age of 23, Rosemary underwent a lobotomy on the orders of her father. However, the procedure was not successful and Rosemary was left with the mental capacity of a two-year-old.

Rosemary was institutionalised afterward and isolated from her family for almost 20 years, before being gradually reintroduced to family life after her father's death. She lived in a private cottage on the grounds of  St. Coletta School for Exceptional Children until her death in 2005, aged 86.

The Assassinations

It  was one of the most infamous assassinations in political history. President John F. Kennedy. The 35th President of the U.S. was shot while riding in a car next to his wife, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963.

Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested later that day for the shooting, but was assassinated himself on live television two days later by Jack Ruby.

Minutes before the assassination of JKF. Photo: Getty

READ MORE: Brutal Obituary For Lee Radziwill, Jackie Onassis' Younger Sister

In 1968, Robert F. Kennedy, JFK's brother, was assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan, hours after winning the California presidential primary in the 1968 election.

Robert F. kennedy after his Californian primary election victory just prior to his assassination. Photo: Getty
The Plane Crashes

Three members of the Kennedy family have been killed in plane crashes.

Joseph P. Kennedy Jr, the older brother of John. F. Kennedy, was killed in action during World War II. From a young age, he was groomed to be the President of the U.S. During a top-secret mission in 1944, his plane was blown up. The cause of the explosion has never been found.

Joseph P. Kennedy Jr, in his pilot's clothing. Photo: Getty

Just four years later, younger sister Kathleen Cavendish, Marchioness of Hartington, was also killed in a plane crash. But not before her first husband, Lord Hartington was killed in World War II, just months after they married.

In 1948, while vacationing with her new beau, 8th Earl Fitzwilliam, she died in a plane crash flying to the south of France.

Kathleen Cavendish with the Marquis of Hartington. Photo: Getty

U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy was severely injured, but survived in a plane crash in 1968 that killed an aide and the pilot.

John F. Kennedy Jr, the son of JFK, was killed in a plane crash in 1999, aged 35. He was the pilot of the plane flying from New Jersey to Massachusetts, that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, also killing his wife Carolyn and sister-in-law Lauren Bessette. Pilot error and spatial disorientation were blamed.

John F. Kennedy Jr. with his wife, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, USA, circa 1995. Photo: Getty
The Car Crashes

In 1969, Ted Kennedy, who survived a plane crash in 1968, was the driver in a car crash that killed his 28-year-old passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne. Ted accidentally drove off a bridge but managed to escape the submerged car. He did not report the crash until the next day, and Kopechne's body was found.

It has long been speculated she suffocated in the vehicle, but no autopsy was ever performed. Ted pleaded guilty to a charge of leaving the scene of an accident causing personal injury.

It was he who said on television after the crash "whether some awful curse did actually hang over all the Kennedys."

Ted Kennedy in 2006. Photo: Getty

Joseph P. Kennedy II, the nephew of JFK, was the driver of a 1974 crash. He survived but one passenger, Pam Kelley was left paralysed and his brother David Kennedy suffered a broken vertebrae. Joseph II was found guilty of negligent driving.

Joseph P. Kennedy II. Photo: Getty
The Skiing Accident

Michael Kennedy, the son of RFK, died in a skiing accident in 1997. He was skiing with other members of the family in Aspen Mountain, Colorado, when he hit a tree and suffered fatal injuries.

Last picture of Michael Kennedy, taken the day that he died, December 31, 1997.