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Thousands pay respects at Baroness Philippine de Rothschild funeral

More than 1,000 people attended the funeral for Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, which has taken place at Chateau Mouton-Rothschild under perfect blue skies.

1,200 mourners attended Baroness Philippine de Rothschild’s funeral in Bordeaux. Image credit: Luc Castel/ Mouton Rothschild

The two-hour ceremony, held yesterday (1 September) around the harvesters’ room and the chateau’s central square, was overseen by local Pauillac priest Father Bruno Delmas.

The funeral party was headed by Madame de Rothschild’s husband, Jean-Pierre de Beaumarchais, her three children, Camille Ögren, Philippe Sereys de Rothschild and Julien de Beaumarchais, and ten grandchildren.

Her first husband, actor and theatre director Jacques Sereys, was also present, as were key members of the Comédie-Francaise, the state theatre where she worked as a celebrated actress for many years before returning to the family estate in Pauillac on the death of her father, Baron Philippe de Rothschild, in 1988.

Others among the 1,200 mourners at the ceremony were Bordeaux mayor Alain Juppé, who gave a moving eulogy, Bernadette Chirac, whose husband Jacques Chirac was the minister of agriculture to sign the promotion of Mouton to first-growth status in 1973, and the extended Rothschild family, including Barons David, Eric and Benjamin Rothschild, together with Lord Rothschild, head of the English branch.

Many wine world figures also attended, including Corinne Mentzelopoulos, Madame François Pinault, Prince Robert of Luxembourg, Jean-François Moueix and Pierre Lurton.

Music came from William Christie of Arts Florissants and Cuban-American soprano Elaine Alvarez, who sang an aria from The Marriage of Figaro.

‘It was a perfect, fitting tribute,’ Pierre Lurton told Decanter.com. ‘It felt like she had overseen every detail. Certainly she still shines even now she’s gone’.

Decanter publishing director Sarah Kemp said, ‘The wine world has lost its true star. An extraordinary and magnificent woman whose energy and enthusiasm lit up every room she was in. We will not see her like again.’

The poignant funeral cortege comprised the casket pulled on a trailer behind a vineyard tractor garlanded with vines and flowers. Six blue-uniformed vineyard workers were the pall-bearers.

Madame de Rothschild was buried in the family crypt among the vines of Mouton next to her father, Baron Philippe.

Obituary: Baroness Philippine de Rothschild

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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