"We are not like in Succession," she said. Hannah Rothschild, eldest daughter of investment banker Jacob Rothschild and former racehorse owner Serena Dunn, who died in 2019, has indeed given some confidences about her illustrious family in the columns of The Independent, Thursday, June 8. Author of a fourth novel, High Time, to be published on July 11, the 61-year-old heiress has notably evoked the way of life of her clan. A dynasty of bankers that, until a century ago, was simply the richest in the world.
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Hannah Rothschild, however, insisted that her father was far from leading a life similar to Logan Roy's. "Honestly, we don't live like that," she insisted. The author, who will not inherit the title of Baroness on the death of her father, due to the British law of primogeniture that privileges male heirs, said that Jacob Rothschild was instead "very thrifty". "It would be horrified to travel the world in a private jet," she said. He would think it's a terrible way to throw money out the window." Hannah Rothschild nevertheless conceded a common point between her clan and that of the Roys. "I think we've all experienced family dysfunction, haven't we?" she asked, enigmatic.
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There are indeed some tensions within the Rothschild clan, due to the flamboyant lifestyle of Nat, heir to the family fortune and brother of Hannah, who lives between Los Angeles and Switzerland. An exuberance that would not be to his father's taste. The heiress is, on the other hand, in daily contact with the latter. "There's a pretty good dynamic between us, and relationships are traditionally more difficult between boys and their fathers," she said. My father and I are not in the conflict at all. I get along well with him." The writer also praised their similar sense of humor, "very useful during some very stressful times". Another common point with the Roys: the Rothschilds will in turn be highlighted on the small screen. The life of the clan will soon be the subject of a series, developed by writer Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey) and producer Jemima Khan.
The first woman to preside over the National Gallery in London, and to work in the family bank, Hannah Rothschild also spoke in the article about her upcoming novel, High Time, inspired by her experience in the world of art and finance. The story of Ayesha, wife of a businessman who brutalizes her, a lonely soul whose marriage eventually collapses. She then tries to fight for custody of their daughter. A universe perfectly mastered by the heiress. "To some extent, you have to write about the world you know... otherwise, I'd be cancelled," jokes Hannah Rothschild.
With many responsibilities, the sexagenarian sits on the board of RIT, her father's private investment company, and succeeded him as head of the Yad Hanadiv association, which aims to create resources for progress in Israel. She confided, however, that she sometimes allowed herself a few escapades to write her novels. Hannah Rothschild says it loud and clear: for her, writing books is a bit like "having an affair". "Most of the time, I'm not supposed to do that," she admitted. I take my computer and go to a coffee shop. Sometimes I go to a hotel, or sneak away for a day or two."
However, she did not realize this dream until late, at the age of 50. "I had written very, very conscientiously for over 30 years," she recalled. "I don't think I had the confidence to think I had something to write. And somehow, I couldn't find the tone that suited me. My room could be lined with rejection letters." The theme of his first book The Jazz Baroness, published in 2012? The story of his great-aunt, Pannonica de Koenigwarter, and his exploits in the world of New York jazz.
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15 years at the BBC
Now a resident of Maida Vale, London, where she lives with two of her three daughters, born of her relationship with her ex-husband - the director William Brookfield - Hannah Rothschild has also spoken about another aspect of her career. A former student of St Paul's School for Girls, then Marlborough University, whose semester price now amounts to 14,310 pounds (13,200 euros), she also attended Oxford University, before working at the BBC for 15 years. She directed films in the Music and Arts departments in the mid-1980s and then as part of "Storyville", a series of documentaries. "That was my career, which I loved," she said. Without specifying what would be the next of his 1001 lives.