A lovely lady

A few years ago we had the pleasure of hosting, Ann Roberts Rockefeller, it was her 8oth birthday,  along with two friends. She is the daughter of Nelson Rockefeller, republican Vice president from 1974-77.  She was charming company, completely without snobbery or  artifice and taking great pleasure in the simple things of our house and the places we took her to. She enjoyed the garden, picked nettles for her breakfast, offered to produce a plan for its restoration, danced to my fiddle on her birthday.  On an unexpected extra day,  we took her to Druidstone which she loved and saw a concert with Harry Bird and the Rubber Wellies who she loved.One of our trips ended up at the Transition cafe in Fishguard which interested her very much. She was also interested in our biomass system, a short time after her visit it was reported that the Rockfeller Foundation( built on the wealth of Standard Oil) had removed all but 1% of investment from  fossil fuels.  The Roberts name  came from her maternal grandmother- Elizabeth Roberts Clark.  Her mother being a Roberts had welsh ancestors and hence Ann’s visit. They had settled in the Welsh Tract in Pennsylvania , Pencoyd ,Bala Cynwyd.

She comes  to mind again with two recent events. Here is her acceptance speech  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqIf7FKhfeQ)  for the  James Parks Morton Award presented in June 2017 for her personal philanthropic fund, Fund of Four Directions.She talks about her great grandfather not  caring about the money but wanting a simple life with no cloth on the table and a bowl of porridge and that  the wealth was only to avenge his  wife’s family who abandoned and shamed her for the marriage to “Wild Bill” Rockefeller, pedlar and philanderer. The speech perfectly captures her philosophy and character.

The second item that recalled her visit  was in May 2018,  her Uncle,  David  Rockefeller , sold his art collection which  yielded £614 million, the largest auction total in history. The collection being the legacy of David, the last surviving grandson of J.D. snr, and brother of Nelson, and his wife Peggy. Most of the proceeds went to charity, though you’d think they might keep back the odd  £10m or £20m for the kids .

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