That Rothschild clan in full: eccentricity, money, influence and scandal
The Sunday Times - October 26, 2008
Nat Rothschild’s career path – from playboy to plutocrat – has to be seen against the backdrop of his family history, studded as it is with eccentrics who were torn between loyalty to an immense and powerful name and the urge to break away from the clan.
His grandfather, Victor Rothschild, who died in 1990 at 79, set the pattern for much of the family in both business and lifestyle. While still at Cambridge University, he was a playboy who drove fast cars, water-skiied off Monte Carlo and played first-class cricket for Northamptonshire.
He also joined the Apostles, the university’s secret society that included the traitors Kim Philby, Guy Burgess and Anthony Blunt. It was Victor who lent Blunt – later surveyor of the Queen’s paintings – the money to buy his first Poussin. When Blunt’s treachery was eventually exposed, Rothschild denied that he was the “Fifth Man” in the spy ring, famously stating: “I am not and never have been a Soviet agent.” This was never seriously in doubt: his work for MI5 during the war had won him a George Medal.