Ella, Baronness van Heemstra, DStJ (12 June 1900 – 26 August 1984) was a Dutch aristocrat and the mother of actress Audrey Hepburn. After her marriage to Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston, she became a British citizen.

Ella van Heemstra
Baroness van Heemstra
Baroness van Heemstra
Ella van Heemstra in 1951
Born(1900-06-12)12 June 1900
Velp, Gelderland, Netherlands
Died26 August 1984(1984-08-26) (aged 84)
Tolochenaz, Vaud, Switzerland
  • Jonkheer Hendrik Gustaaf Adolf Quarles van Ufford
    (m. 1919; div. 1925)
  • Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston
    (m. 1926; div. 1939)
FatherBaron Aarnoud van Heemstra
MotherBaroness Elbrig Willemine Henriette van Asbeck
OccupationSocialite and volunteer worker

Biography edit

Ella van Heemstra was a Dutch aristocrat and the third of five daughters of Baron Aarnoud van Heemstra, who was mayor of Arnhem from 1910 to 1920 and served as Governor of Suriname between 1921 and 1928. Ella's mother was Elbrig Willemine Henriette, Baroness van Asbeck (1873–1939), who was a granddaughter of jurist Count Dirk van Hogendorp.[1] She spent much of her childhood at Huis Doorn.[2] German Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm purchased Huis Doorn, and moved in on 15 May 1920. This was to be his home until his death in June 1941.

Personal life edit

Van Heemstra was married and divorced twice, and had three children.

Aged 19, Van Heemstra married Jonkheer Hendrik Gustaaf Adolf Quarles van Ufford. They divorced in 1925. Van Heemstra had two sons from this marriage, both of whom were born in the Dutch East Indies:

  • Jonkheer Arnoud Robert Alexander Quarles van Ufford (1920–1979), married to Maria Margaretha Monné (1919–2006),[3] with issue:
  1. Michael Allan Quarles van Ufford (born 17 July 1945)[4]
  2. Evelyn Joyce Quarles van Ufford (born 2 August 1947)[5]
  • Jonkheer Ian Edgar Bruce Quarles van Ufford (1924–2010),[6] married to Yvonne Scholtens (1928–2000),[7][8] with issue:
  1. Audrey Yvonne Quarles van Ufford (born 10 May 1954)[9]
  2. Sandra Claire Quarles van Ufford (born 15 October 1958)
  3. Andrew Ian Quarles van Ufford (born 6 January 1967)

Van Heemstra married secondly Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston (later Hepburn-Ruston) on 24 September 1926 at Batavia, Java, Dutch East Indies. They were divorced on 24 June 1939 and had one daughter:

  • Audrey Kathleen Ruston (4 May 1929 – 20 January 1993), commonly known as Audrey Hepburn

Van Heemstra was an early supporter of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime, penning several articles in praise of the fascist leader.[10]

Later life edit

In the early 1960s she lived in Los Angeles with her friend Leonard Gershe, and then later in San Francisco, where she did volunteer work for soldiers coming back from Vietnam.

When she visited Los Angeles she was entertained by friends like George Cukor, Mrs. Mildred Knopf (wife of Edwin H. Knopf) and Veronique Peck. She spent the rest of her life in her daughter's house in Tolochenaz, Switzerland where she died in 1984.[11] Audrey accompanied her mother's body to the Netherlands for funeral.

Filmography edit

Year Title Role Notes
Funny Face Sidewalk Cafe Patron uncredited

Honours edit

Ella was named Dame of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem by Queen Elizabeth II on 7 September 1971.

Ancestry edit

References edit

  1. ^ Segers, Yop. "Heemstra, Aarnoud Jan Anne Aleid baron van (1871-1957)". Historici.nl. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  2. ^ Michel Dutrieue. "De dagboeken van de Duitse keizer in Huis Doorn". Stretto (in Dutch). Retrieved 8 January 2022.
  3. ^ Paris, Barry (1997). Audrey Hepburn. p. 163. ISBN 0-75281-540-7.
  4. ^ Paris, Barry (1997). Audrey Hepburn. p. 32. ISBN 0-75281-540-7.
  5. ^ Paris, Barry (1997). Audrey Hepburn. p. 163. ISBN 0-75281-540-7.
  6. ^ "Ian van Ufford Quarles Obituary". The Times. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  7. ^ Paris, Barry (1997). Audrey Hepburn. p. 164. ISBN 0-75281-540-7.
  8. ^ "Ian Edgar Bruce Quarles". Genealogie Online. Archived from the original on 10 March 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  9. ^ Paris, Barry (1997). Audrey Hepburn. p. 164. ISBN 0-75281-540-7.
  10. ^ Fernández, Alexia (3 April 2019). "Audrey Hepburn's Secret Shame About Her Mother's Nazi Sympathies: New Book Reveals". People. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  11. ^ Paris, Barry (September 2001). Audrey Hepburn by Barry Paris. ISBN 9781101127780. Retrieved 2 February 2014.

External links edit