Vanessa Redgrave says she is still struggling to cope with the death of her daughter Natasha Richardson in a ski accident six months ago.

The 72-year-old actress, speaking at the Harper’s Bazaar Women of the Year Awards, said despite being the head of her family she found it difficult to be strong for everybody else.

Vanessa told the Daily Mail: “It is hard to feel happiness when all one’s effort is taken up with avoiding sadness.

“It is important to teach the young that life continues regardless of poor weather and terrible knocks, but the ability to be strong is rather debilitating at the moment.

“All this talk that I am the matriarch of our family dynasty is all utter rubbish, because my heart is just as damaged as those of the younger members.

“The Redgrave family – from what I believe, anyway – has always moved on from sadness by casting away worries, hopefully leaving the path open to more achievements. That is what we are all doing.”