Charlotte von Rothschild
|Charlotte von Rothschild|
Charlotte von Rothschild, wedding portrait by Moritz Daniel Oppenheim, 1836. The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
13 June 1819|
|Died||13 March 1884
|Spouse(s)||Lionel de Rothschild (m. 1836)|
|Children||Leonora de Rothschild (b. 1837)
Evelina de Rothschild (b. 1839)
Nathan Mayer Rothschild (b. 1840)
Alfred de Rothschild (b. 1842)
Leopold de Rothschild (b. 1845)
|Parent(s)||Carl Mayer von Rothschild and Adelheid Herz|
She was the eldest child and only daughter of Carl Mayer von Rothschild (1788–1855) and Adelheid Herz (1800–1853). Because endogamy within the Rothschild family was an essential part of their strategy to ensure that control of their wealth remained in family hands, on 15 June 1836, two days after her seventeenth birthday, the beautiful Charlotte married Lionel de Rothschild (1808–1879), her first cousin from the English branch of the family. They had the following children:
- Leonora (1837–1911)
- Evelina (1839–1866)
- Nathan Mayer (1840–1915)
- Alfred Charles (1842–1918)
- Leopold (1845–1917)
The couple maintained residences at 148 Piccadilly and Gunnersbury Park in London where, in the tradition of the English family, she used the style "de" Rothschild. Charlotte von Rothschild's arranged marriage flourished for 43 years based on great love and mutual respect. In an era when male and female roles were clearly defined, Charlotte had been better educated in art than her husband and would be instrumental in most of their art assemblage.
In 1858, her husband became the first unconverted Jew to sit in the British House of Commons. Charlotte de Rothschild became one of England's most prominent socialites whose dinner invitations, according to biographer Stanley Weintraub were favoured over those from Buckingham Palace. In 1844, she caused a sensation in London society when the American showman P. T. Barnum and his celebrated midget "Tom Thumb" performed at her home. However, beyond socializing and entertaining, Charlotte von Rothschild was a dedicated patron of numerous charities with a special interest in education.
Charlotte von Rothschild died at her Gunnersbury Park home in 1884 and was buried next to her husband in the Willesden Jewish Cemetery. Following her death, her eldest son named a newly constructed block of housing for low-income persons "Charlotte's Buildings."