Jacob Rothschild was born in 1936 as the oldest child of Victor Rothschild and Barbara Judith Rothschild. Rothschild received a private education and received a degree in history. When he was 25 years old, Rothschild married Serena Mary Dunn, who is the granddaughter of Sir James Dunn, a banker from Canada.
While he was growing up, Rothschild said that he experienced some anti-semitism from his famous name, but didn’t let it get to him. Rothschild also met Hugh Trevor-Roper, who was his tutor, and they became good friends. Rothschild then turned his attention to the family business after graduation and marriage when he started work in 1963 at the N.M. Rothschild & Sons bank in London, and had been there for 17 years.
Rothschild and his wife Serena have had four children that were all born around this time: Hannah Mary (born in 1962), Beth Matilda (born in 1964), Emmy Magda (born 1967) and Nathaniel Philip Victor James (born 1971).
Eventually Rothschild left the business after a dispute and founded his own group named the J. Rothschild Assurance Group, which is now known as the St. James’s Place plc. Rothschild said that “I didn’t have an easy relationship with my father or my cousins at the time so I went out on my own, and did reasonably well.”
Along the way, Rothschild has accumulated more business ventures by becoming the Chairman of RIT Capital Partners plc, which is a titan on the London Stock Exchange in the investment market.
One of the company’s subsidiaries, J Rothschild Capital Management, is still being overseen by Jacob as he acts as the Chairman. Rothschild saw the potential for growth in India in 2006, founding Xander Real Estate in the country and serving as an Advisory Board Member. Other job titles for Rothschild include Council Member for the Duchy of Cornwall, and a Board Member for The Blackstone Group.
The first decade of the new millennium saw Rothschild come under a little bit of criticism as in 2003 he had the shares of Mikhail Khodorkovsky from YUKOS, a Russian oil company, passed into his name just before Khodorkovsky was arrested. You don’t become a billionaire without a little bit of diversity in your portfolio, and Rothschild has plenty of it with real estate, energy and much more.
Being a billionaire businessman also means that you have some pretty powerful friends. Rothschild was a close friend to Princess Diana while she was a member of the royal family, and some of his previous clients include Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Margaret Thatcher. Rothschild also set up an Economic Round Table that included Warren Buffett and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Officially, Rothschild’s full name is The Right Honorable Nathaniel Charles Jacob Rothschild, 4th Baron Rothschild, Bt, OM, GBE, GBA, commonly known as Lord Rothschild or Baron Rothschild, of Tring in the County of Hertford (say that five times fast). Rothschild has earned all of these honors with his family connections, and has received awards that range from Personality of the Year to Member of the Order of Merit, and there are only 24 members in the world.
While some might think that Rothschild is sitting on all of the money he has gathered through the years, he is actually quite active in the philanthropy side of things. Rothschild has served on the board for the National Gallery, the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the British National Heritage Lottery Fund and many more.
Just last year, Rothschild was honored with the J. Paul Getty Medal, which is given for his achievement in philanthropy, especially in the field of museology and art. Rothschild told the media that “Philanthropy has a lot to do with our family’s values” and that “Beginning particularly with the 19th century, members of my family were brought up, once they’d made money, to give a lot of it back.” With more than $4 billion in net worth, there is plenty of it to give back.