Annita van Iersel

Anna Johanna Maria "Annita" van Iersel (born 5 October 1948), known as Annita Keating from 1975 to 1998, is a Dutch-born Australian artist and former wife of Paul Keating, former Prime Minister of Australia.

Annita van Iersel
Annita Keating.jpg
Spouse of the Prime Minister of Australia
In office
20 December 1991 – 11 March 1996
Preceded byHazel Hawke
Succeeded byJanette Howard
Personal details
Anna Johanna Maria van Iersel

(1948-10-05) 5 October 1948 (age 72)
Oisterwijk, North Brabant, Netherlands
Spouse(s)Paul Keating (m. 1975, div. 2008)
Alma materAustralian National School of Arts

Early lifeEdit

Born in Oisterwijk, Noord Brabant, Netherlands, she studied languages in Paris and London. She worked at KLM and Alitalia as a flight attendant.


While working with Alitalia, she met Paul Keating, then an aspiring young politician.[1] They married on 17 January 1975. Her parents later joined her in Australia.

While her husband was Prime Minister (from 1991 to 1996),[2] their four children[2] spent part of their teenage years at The Lodge, the Prime Minister's official residence in Canberra. Van Iersel was well travelled, and this, along with her knowledge of five languages, proved a valuable diplomatic asset, especially in support of Sydney's bid for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.[3]

Art careerEdit

In 1998, Annita and Paul Keating separated. That same year she enrolled in a Master of Fine Arts course, majoring in photography, at the Australian National School of Arts in Darlinghurst, Sydney. She graduated in 2001. In March 2008 she was scheduled to exhibit a series of paintings – oils on Belgian linen – that she created in her studio on the Hawkesbury River.[4]

They did not formally divorce until 2008, though she had resumed her maiden name of van Iersel long before then.[5] Van Iersel revealed some years after the event, in an Interview with her by The Bulletin, that Keating had broken off the relationship, not she, and had done it at a dinner party with friends.[6]


  1. ^ "From aircraft aisle to wedding aisle". 20 July 2010. Retrieved 20 November 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b Paul Keating – Prime Minister from 20 December 1991 to 11 March 1996National Museum of Australia
  3. ^ "Annita Keating". Australia's Prime Ministers. National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 31 January 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Wright, Tony (20 March 2008). "Former PM's wife faces life with easel". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 4 September 2009. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Sharp, Annette (8 June 2013). "Coy Keating must publicly 'fess his love". The Daily Telegraph.
  6. ^ Paul Ended Our Marriage at a Dinner Party Sydney Morning Herald, 20 April 2004
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Hazel Hawke
Spouse of the Prime Minister of Australia
Succeeded by
Janette Howard