‘Private jets? What a frightful waste of money!’ Hannah Rothschild on Succession and satirising high society

The Rothschilds have the wealth, power and prestige of Succession’s Roy dynasty but that’s where the similarity ends, insists heiress and novelist Hannah. As her family get the lavish Downton-esque period drama treatment, she talks to Charlotte Cripps about her extraordinary life and how it’s shaped her waspishly comic books

Thursday 08 June 2023 13:37 BST
Hannah Rothschild’s novel ‘High Time’ is a comic satire on wealth and status
Hannah Rothschild’s novel ‘High Time’ is a comic satire on wealth and status (Rebecca Northway)

The Rothschilds: are they Britain’s answer to the Roys? “No!” laughs Hannah Rothschild, author, heiress and avid watcher of Succession. “We’re not like Succession.” 

In 2008, The Telegraph wrote that “the Rothschild name has become synonymous with money and power to a degree that no other family has quite matched”, and, until a century ago, the Rothschilds, the most famous of all European banking dynasties, were the richest family in the world (the title currently goes to the Walton family who founded Walmart). But whereas the Roys, the dysfunctional American global-media family in the HBO/Sky drama, use “PJs” (private jets) like buses, Rothschild insists her family aren’t so flashy.  

“We genuinely don’t live like that,” says Rothschild. Her father, investment banker Jacob Rothschild, is “very parsimonious”. “He’d be horrified flying around the world in a private jet. He’d think it’s a frightful waste of money.” With a knowing look, she adds, “But I think we can all relate to difficult family dysfunction, can’t we?”

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