Sarah Ferguson was “touched as a mother and a parent” by the double murder of a couple who were shot dead while on honeymoon in Antigua.
The Duchess of York – who spoke at a memorial service for murdered newlyweds Ben and Dr. Catherine Mullany in front of over 500 mourners at the Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff, Wales, yesterday (10.09.08) – said she was in awe of the couple’s families’ strength in light of the tragedy, and was reminded of her own position as mother to Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.
Speaking in the cathedral, Sarah said: “I think the whole world was taken by the tragedy of Ben and Catherine who were taken away at such a young age. I was very, very touched as a mother and a parent.
“How do you get over the fact that postcards arrived at the parents’ home saying they were so much in love and so happy – arriving after they had died?
“The families of Ben and Catherine are utterly extraordinary. They have been so strong even when they have such a great hole in their hearts. They are so united as a family.”
The duchess – who met the parents of the couple on a flight in New York – then read W.B. Yeats’ poem He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven as a tribute to the couple, before adding: “I’m just amazed at the courage shown today by the parents. Ben and Catherine leave behind a legacy. They hit the hearts of the nation and the world with such an extraordinary love story.”
Sarah has also agreed to be the patron of The Mullany Fund charity, set up in tribute, which will aim to financially aid medical and physiotherapy students through college.
She also gave a £10,000 donation to the charity.
Adam Mullany, the brother of physiotherapist Ben, said: “The Mullany Fund has been launched by the family and friends of Cath and Ben to support UK students wishing to study medicine or physiotherapy.
“While we will never replace Cath and Ben this fund will help others to fill their shoes and continue the work that they had started.”