How Jewish is Lord Snowdon?

June 19, 2008

A new biography of Lord Snowdon, written by Anne de Courcy, is published this month.  So what does it tell us about the Jewishness of the man who married the sister of Her Majesty the Queen and fathered David Linley, the 12th in line to the throne?

Lord Snowdon is Welsh on his father’s side. He is an old Etonian, attended Cambridge and sounds very posh. Also, he is the Queen’s (ex) brother-in-law, which is not a job for a Jew. You never see him in a kippah, and we are fairly sure that he rarely, if ever, lays tefillin. He hasn’t always been complimentary about Jews, either. He once said to Princess Margaret: “You look like a Jewish manicurist and I hate you.” A bit unnecessary, you’ll agree.

Ah, but Lord Snowdon is indeed Jewish. His mother was Anne Messel, a society beauty of German-Jewish  ancestry. In fact, in the book Snowdon recalls his maternal grandfather as “a grumpy little bugger. Very self important and very Jewish.” Snowdon recently told Vogue: “I wish I were more Jewish.” Also, Snowdon takes photos. For the right appropriate fee, he might even do your barmitzvah.

Snowdon does not need to be any more Jewish. Halachically, the Lubavitcher rebbe was no more haimishe than he is.

So we say he is 64% Jewish.

Last updated: 3:25pm, September 23 2009