Hannah Primrose, Countess of Rosebery
Hannah de Rothschild was the daughter of Baron Mayer de Rothschild and his wife Juliana. After inheriting her father’s fortune in 1874, she became the richest woman in Britain. In 1878, Hannah de Rothschild married Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery. Her marriage into the aristocracy gave her the social cachet in an antisemitic society.
About Hannah Primrose, Countess of Rosebery in brief
Hannah de Rothschild was the daughter of Baron Mayer de Rothschild and his wife Juliana. After inheriting her father’s fortune in 1874, she became the richest woman in Britain. In 1878, Hannah de Rothschild married Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery. Her marriage into the aristocracy, while controversial at the time, gave her the social cachet in an antisemitic society that her vast fortune could not. Her charitable work was principally in the sphere of public health and causes associated with the welfare of working-class Jewish women living in the poorer districts of London. Having firmly assisted and supported her husband on his path to political greatness, she suddenly died in 1890, aged 39, leaving him, distraught and bereft of her support, to achieve the political destiny which she had plotted. His premiership of the United Kingdom was shambolic, and lasted barely a year. For over thirty years following her death, he wandered in a political wilderness, directionless and exceedingly eccentric, until his own death in 1929. She was a companion to her hypochondriac mother and, in later life, a hostess with her father during her mother’s long periods of indisposition. Her formal education was neglected in favour of music and singing lessons, subjects in which she was accomplished. As a result, she was never allowed to enter the cottages on the Rothschilds’ estates. A year later, in 1869, Hannah made her formal entrance into society as a party for the Prince of Wales while only 17 years of age. She used much of her fortune to improve the poor, in housing and education, from her teens onwards.
She hosted a large party at Mentmore house for the Queen when she was presented to Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace in 1868. She never allowed her cousin Constance Flowersea, who never allowed herself to enter, to enter her cottage, as a result of which she never became a poor poor woman. Her husband, the Earl ofRosebery, was one of the most celebrated figures in Britain, an influential millionaire and politician, whose charm, wit, charisma and public popularity gave him such standing that he almost eclipsed royalty. He was largely ignored by historians and often regarded as notable only for financing her husband’s three ambitions: to marry an heiress, win The Derby, and become Prime Minister. By the mid-19th century, the. Rothschilds regarded themselves as the nearest thing the Jews of Europe had to a royal family, and the equals of royalty. Whether or not this was strictly true, the many Rothschild homes and their art collections, in England, Austria, France and Germany, certainly rivaled those of the crowned heads of Europe. The marriage provided the impetus for Meyer to create what he described as \”an enduring monument,\” a country house of monumental proportions. His daughter Hannah, aged just six months, laid the foundation stone on 31 December 1851. Within a few years of the mansion’s completion, attracted by the good hunting and proximity to London, Hannah’s relatives began to build estates all within a carriage drive of each other.