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Yvonne, Mrs Anthony de Rothschild (née Cahen d'Anvers) (1899-1977)

Yvonne Lydia Louise de Rothschild (née Cahen d'Anvers) was born on 26 August 1899, in Champs-sur-Marne, Île- de-France. She was the daughter of Colonel Robert Cahen d'Anvers of Paris and Sonia Warschawsky. Her father was military man, who served in the First World  War. During the First World War, along with her mother and younger sister, Renee, Yvonne spent time in Norfolk, Devon and Cornwall, England. Yvonne and her sister  both contributed to the war effort, working on local farms and helping  with the harvest. Yvonne loved riding and hunting and was an accomplished and elegant horsewoman. She was also very keen on motoring, owning several prestigious cars including a Rolls-Royce, Bugatti and Hispano-Suiza. She was part of the great social scene of  Europe and during a dinner party in February 1926 met Anthony de Rothschild. The couple were married in England on 10 June 1926. They spent time at their properties at 42, Hill  Street, Berkeley Square, London,  and  from 1937, at Ascott, Buckinghamshire, and Palace House, Newmarket.

Work during the Second World War

Both Anthony and Yvonne had a deep and eminently practical commitment to public service, particularly  for their  fellow Jews. During the 1930s it was Yvonne who had first begun to realise the implications of the European situation in the early 1930s. By the autumn of 1933, she had become president of a society 'to aid German Jewish women children'. In December 1933,  Yvonne wrote to The Times as President of the  Women's  Appeal  Committee for German Jewish  Women and Children. In her letter she appealed to the readers for contributions  to facilitate the safe emigration of  530 German Jewish children to England and Palestine. With her husband, she helped to coordinate activity to assist the Jewish victims of racial and religious persecution. Both Anthony and Yvonne  worked tirelessly for this cause both during and after the War. On the home front, Anthony and Yvonne offered their house at Ascott for use as a hospital; it became a safe a safe haven for Chelsea Pensioners (who had been bombed out of their London residence), and forty cases of valuable treasures evacuated from London museums and Synagogues.   

Yvonne was also an active member of the Buckinghamshire community, elected Rural Councillor in 1946 and Justice of the Peace in 1948. She took her civil duties very seriously and only resigned from them in 1970. Yvonne was closely involved with the building of  workers' houses and cottages in  the village of Wing,  and he was praised for having 'the natural insight of an architect'. Yvonne was President of both the Women's Institute and Women's British Legion for the  region. After her husband’s death, Yvonne continued to  live at Ascott, in a cottage on the estate with her mother. She died there on 6 January 1977, aged 77.

Archive sources

Papers of Anthony and Yvionne de Rothschild relating to the Central British Fund will be found in 000/2628.