I’ll just die if they find out that Daddy was rich

You will, of course, have heard of the latest absurd Kate Winslet comment:

Kate Winslet has told of her relief at discovering that her ancestors were peasants, saying she would have been “upset and disgusted” to have come from wealth.

You hardly need me to point out how ridiculous this is, so I thought I would instead pass on a story that indicates just how much attitudes have changed.

You remember Laurie Lee and his book Cider With Rosie? All about his childhood experiences growing up with his poverty-stricken family? His older brother Jack Lee , later a successful film director and producer, was mortified by this portrait of their family, because it depicted what a poor background he came from. In those days that was something to be embarrassed about – perhaps not ashamed, but embarrassed.

Nowadays we have the complete opposite, where people are ashamed (or pretend they are ashamed) to have come from a family that managed to do well. I don’t think either attitude is healthy. It’s just very disappointing that we have gone, as with so many other things, from one extreme to another.

(Of course there are still some social circles where coming from a rich background is regarded as a good thing – there’s a certain local private school near me where the boys definitely have that attitude – but generally the attitude amongst the fashionable classes is the opposite.)


“People never believe me, but my children aren’t over-privileged. We just don’t live like that. They are very balanced. Humble.” Winslet has three children, the youngest with Edward Abel Smith, nephew of Sir Richard Branson and previously known as Ned Rocknroll.

She’s so humble she married a man who called himself ‘ Ned Rocknroll’. She’s so anti-money she married the nephew of Richard Branson, who is famously poor.

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3 thoughts on “I’ll just die if they find out that Daddy was rich

  1. One quarter of my ancestors were moderately wealthy, they owned a brickworks and a lot of windmills. By the time that I came along the industrialisation of the flour milling process by the likes of Rank-Hovis-McDougal had mostly put them out of business. One of my great, or it might be great great, uncles was a problem gambler so that didn’t help. By the time that I came along Many of the relatives on that side of the family owned houses which was unusual back in those days, most of us lived in council houses. I don’t lose any sleep over any of this, really what does it have to do with me?

  2. My ancestor found the nugget that started the Australian gold rush. It was worth heaps but he gave the cash to his mate to look after while he abandoned his wife and went to visit his other wife and child back in England. Here, to be fair, I must mention that he was actually Irish.
    The mate lost all his money doing something or other stupid with it and now my family is not distinguished at all.
    I have his magnifying glass at home that has his name scratched in it, our family heirloom, but a Rothschild style trust fund would have been even better.

  3. I hope she gives all her money to charity so her descendants aren’t ashamed of her. I wish I could help her get rid of it all.

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