Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, who died on 22 August 2014, was the owner, with her children, of three great wine estates at Pauillac in the Médoc: Château Mouton Rothschild, Premier Cru Classé, Château d’Armailhac and Château Clerc Milon. She was Chair of the Supervisory Board and majority shareholder of the family company, Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA, the leading exporter of Bordeaux AOC wines which, among other branded wines, produces and markets the famous Mouton Cadet.
Philippine de Rothschild spent her childhood in France during the Second World War. Her father, Baron Philippe de Rothschild (1902-1988), had joined General de Gaulle in London; meanwhile her mother was deported to Ravensbrück, where she died in 1945. Philippine herself miraculously escaped death.
In love with the theatre, she graduated from the Paris Conservatoire National d’Art Dramatique in 1958 and was engaged by the Comédie Française. After a first marriage with the actor and director Jacques Sereys, she married the scholar and writer Jean-Pierre de Beaumarchais. She had three children from her two relationships: Camille, Philippe and Julien, born in 1961, 1963 and 1971 respectively.
She continued her stage career after leaving the Comédie Française. Among other engagements, between 1973 and 1980 she played one of the leading roles in “Harold and Maude” beside Madeleine Renaud.
She subsequently became increasingly involved in the life of Mouton and the family business. In 1981, she created the travelling exhibition “Mouton Rothschild, Paintings for the Labels”, which brought the original artworks created by famous painters for the Mouton labels to a worldwide audience.
On Baron Philippe’s death, Philippine de Rothschild assumed all his duties and responsibilities. She raised ever higher the star of Mouton, an illustrious wine and a prime tourist attraction. With infectious energy, she modernised the facilities of the family company, extended its product range and made it commercially more effective, and successfully established it in several major winegrowing regions in France and elsewhere, producing both premium and branded wines.
Philippine de Rothschild was an Officier de la Légion d’Honneur and an Officier des Arts et Lettres.
Her son, Philippe Sereys de Rothschild, has now succeeded her as Chairman of the family company’s Supervisory Board. Her other two children, Camille Ögren and Julien de Beaumarchais, work closely with the new chairman, all three united in their commitment to their mother’s work and the Château’s motto: “I, Mouton, do not change”.