Robert Mendick — The Telegraph.co.uk May 11, 2018
George Osborne, the former chancellor of the Exchequer, has discovered that he is Jewish.
The former Tory MP revealed his maternal grandmother Clarisse Loxton-Peacock – a glamorous Hungarian emigre – was a Jew who came to Britain before the war.
Mr Osborne, 46, was informed by his youngest brother Theo who had begun investigating his maternal grandmother’s background after falling in love with a Jewish woman.
Theo Osborne, 33, an investment manager, had embarked on the lengthy process to convert in order to marry his American fiancée Justine Fisher in an orthodox Jewish ceremony.
But part way through a conversion that can take several years, he uncovered documents that proved his grandmother – born Clarisse Feher – and her family had been members of a synagogue in Budapest.
Other evidence, thought to have included Hungarian birth certificates, also demonstrated the family’s Jewish origins.
A rabbinical court – known as the Beth Din – examined the documents and ruled Theo was Jewish. Under orthodox rabbinical law, the Jewish faith passes down through the maternal line, meaning Theo had no need to convert.
That allowed him to marry in an orthodox ceremony that took place last Sunday in the grand setting of the Wormsley estate in Buckinghamshire, owned by the Getty family.
The catering was kosher and the married couple celebrated with traditional Jewish wedding dances.
The ex-chancellor, who stood down as an MP last year and now edits the London Evening Standard, has spoken of his delight.
“The whole family was thrilled to be at my brother Theo and Justine’s wedding on Sunday and to have enjoyed all the tradition and splendour and energy of a great Jewish wedding,” he told the Telegraph.
The Osbornes had never known that their grandmother Clarisse – known to all as Klara – was Jewish. She died in 2004 aged 90 without mentioning to her grandchildren that they were technically Jewish.
“It wasn’t something she ever talked about,” a family friend said.
“She never discussed her Jewish roots. She had never suggested she was Jewish. She hadn’t come to Britain as a refugee from the Nazis or anything like that. She came in the 1930s to study at art college and then stayed. Her parents came from Budapest after the war and settled in London.”
The friend said: “George and Theo were delighted to discover they were Jewish. Their grandmother already had an interesting background but this makes it just that bit more interesting.
“Theo’s girlfriend is from an orthodox Jewish family and Theo had been more than willing to convert but thought it was worth investigating his grandmother. Theo did a bit of digging and found out from various sources that she was Jewish – things like synagogue records that survived in Hungary. The Jewish authorities were happy and so he didn’t need to convert.”