audrey hepburn family tree

Audrey Hepburn Family Tree

In my experience as a genealogist, the Audrey Hepburn family tree fascinated me with its blend of nobility and artistry. Tracing the lineage of this silver screen legend, I found my expertise invaluable in unveiling the layers of her ancestry.

From Baroness Ella Van Heemstra's Dutch nobility to Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston's British roots, I believe that understanding Audrey's background is key to appreciating her character. Her family's past, marked by both distinction and adversity, reflects in the legacy she left.

My connection with Audrey's history deepened my appreciation for the way our ancestors shape who we are.

Key Takeaways

  • Audrey Hepburn's father, Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston, was a British banker, while her mother, Ella Van Heemstra, came from Dutch nobility.
  • Audrey Hepburn attended Miss Rigdens and school in England for her education.
  • Audrey Hepburn's childhood was spent in various countries due to her father's occupation.
  • Despite her British citizenship, Audrey Hepburn had a diverse family background with connections to both British and Dutch heritage.

Early Ancestry Insights

Delving into Audrey Hepburn's early ancestry reveals a blend of British and Dutch lineage. Her father's banking background and her mother's noble Dutch roots provide a backdrop of international influence and aristocratic connection.

Her family tree includes her mother, Ella Van Heemstra, a Dutch aristocrat, and the daughter of Jonkheer Hendrik Gustaaf Adolf Quarles van Ufford, the former governor of Dutch Guiana. Audrey's father, Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston, added the Hepburn name from his maternal grandmother to their family, making her Audrey Hepburn-Ruston.

Your mother's first marriage bore Jonkheer Ian Edgar Bruce Quarles van Ufford and Jonkheer Arnoud Robert Alexander Alex Quarles van Ufford—your half-brothers.

This rich tapestry of heritage shaped Audrey, born in Belgium, educated in England, and holding British citizenship.

Noble Beginnings

Building on the aristocratic heritage of Audrey Hepburn's mother, your noble beginnings are anchored in the esteemed lineage of the Van Heemstra family, with ties to the governance of Dutch Guiana. Your roots trace back to:

  1. Ella Van Heemstra, your grandmother, a Dutch noblewoman and former Baroness.
  2. Jonkheer Hendrik Gustaaf Adolf Quarles van Ufford, your great-grandfather, a distinguished Dutch nobleman.
  3. The governor of Dutch Guiana, your great-great-grandfather, from whom the family derived its noble status.
  4. The Huis Doorn manor house, where your mother spent her childhood, symbolizing the family's regal standing.

You carry the legacy of Audrey Hepburn, who, with British citizenship, navigated a world far removed from her Dutch noble roots.

The Ruston Lineage

While your mother's ancestry firmly roots you in Dutch nobility, your father's English heritage, traced through the Ruston family, adds a rich tapestry of British culture to your lineage.

Your full name, Audrey Kathleen Ruston, honors both sides, but let's delve into your paternal roots. Your father, Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston, worked as an English banker—a profession that demanded mobility, hence your family traveled often. You were born in Belgium, a testament to your family's varied locales. Joseph's job as a banker was pivotal, influencing where the family settled.

Baroness Ella Van Heemstra

Turning now to the maternal side of your ancestry, Baroness Ella Van Heemstra, your mother, brought the distinction of Dutch nobility to your family tree. Let's delve into the details:

  1. Ella Van Heemstra was the daughter of Jonkheer Hendrik Gustaaf Adolf Quarles van Ufford, a Dutch nobleman and former governor of Dutch Guiana.
  2. Her first marriage to Jonkheer Hendrik Gustaaf Adolf Quarles van Ufford produced two sons: Jonkheer Arnoud Robert Alexander Quarles van Ufford and Jonkheer Ian Edgar Bruce Quarles van Ufford.
  3. The second wife of Ella Van Heemstra was Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston, your grandfather, establishing a marriage to a Dutch baroness and an English banker.
  4. The former Baroness Ella significantly impacted your life, with her aristocratic lineage and the cultural richness from her multiple European residences shaping your upbringing.

Joseph Hepburn-Ruston's Background

Joseph Hepburn-Ruston, an English banker and your paternal figure, introduced the Hepburn name into your family legacy by adopting it from his maternal grandmother, which ultimately became part of your own identity as Audrey Hepburn-Ruston.

With Joseph Ruston as your father and the lineage he carried, you acquired British citizenship, a heritage that allowed you to attend school in England. His career with a British insurance company meant that your family travelled extensively, embedding a sense of cultural diversity within you from a young age.

This surname, Hepburn, intertwined with your mother's noble lineage from Ella Van Heemstra, enriched your background. Furthermore, your father's association with Ian Edgar Bruce Quarles added another layer to the multifaceted tapestry of your family history.

Audrey's Immediate Family

Delving into your immediate family, Audrey, we find a blend of British and Dutch heritage through your parents, Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston and Ella Van Heemstra, and a lineage extended by your two half-brothers from your mother's first marriage.

  1. Parentage: Your father, Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston, was a British banker, while your mother, Ella Van Heemstra, hailed from Dutch nobility.
  2. Siblings: Your family included two half-brothers, Ian and Alex Quarles van Ufford, from Ella's first marriage to Hendrik Gustaaf Adolf Quarles.
  3. Name Origins: The surname Hepburn was added by your father, honoring his maternal grandmother, Kathleen Hepburn.
  4. Progeny: You were the first child to Joseph and Ella, later becoming a mother yourself to Sean and Luca, who carried on your legacy in philanthropy.

Sibling Connections

Exploring further into your familial ties, Audrey, your half-brothers Michael Allen van Ufford and Ian Edgar Bruce van Ufford stand as the first branches in the intricate web of your extended family.

Born from the union of your mother, Ella Van Heemstra, and your maternal grandfather's lineage, rooted in the prestige of Jonkheer Hendrik Gustaaf Adolf Quarles van Ufford, they represent the merging of noble Dutch heritage with the broader Hepburn narrative.

Though the map detailing the geographical origins of your ancestors hasn't loaded, it's clear that your family history is a tapestry of movement and cultural intersections.

As the first child of Ella and Joseph Ruston, you later adopted the Hepburn name, a nod to your paternal ancestry, thereby intertwining the Hepburn-Ruston legacy with that of the Quarles van Ufford.

Personal Tragedies

Amidst the glimmer of stardom, you endured profound personal losses, including the early divorce of your parents, which cast a long shadow over your formative years.

As Audrey Hepburn, your family's history is marked by both distinction and adversity:

  1. Your parents, Ella Van Heemstra and Edgar Bruce Quarles van Ufford, split when you were young, unsettling your childhood spent at the Doorn manor house outside.
  2. World War II ravaged your youth, with memories etched while sheltered in the Huis Doorn manor house outside Arnhem.
  3. Your own marriages, to Mel Ferrer and later Andrea Dotti, unfortunately ended in divorce, adding layers of personal strife.
  4. The loss of beloved friends like William Holden, and ultimately your own battle with cancer, punctuated a life of both radiant achievements and intimate sorrows.

Hepburn's Offspring

While your personal journey, Audrey Hepburn, braved through waves of sorrow, your legacy found continuity through your sons, Sean Hepburn Ferrer and Luca Dotti, who not only inherited your artistic flair but also your commitment to philanthropy.

Sean, born from your marriage to actor Mel Ferrer, carved a niche in film, echoing the creative spirit of both his parents. He continued your humanitarian mission, actively engaging with UNICEF and founding the Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund.

Luca, the progeny of your union with Italian psychiatrist Andrea Dotti, channeled his creativity into graphic artistry in Paris. He, too, honors your philanthropic legacy, advocating for children's welfare through UNICEF.

Together, they ensure the Hepburn narrative—one of compassion and artistry—thrives across generations.

Legacy and Descendants

The enduring legacy of Audrey Hepburn extends through her sons, Sean Hepburn Ferrer and Luca Dotti, who've both embraced their mother's philanthropic spirit by actively supporting UNICEF. They carry forth the family's commitment to humanitarian work, ensuring that the surname Hepburn remains synonymous with compassion and advocacy.

Here's how Audrey Hepburn's legacy is perpetuated:

  1. Sean Hepburn Ferrer: Works in the film industry, has three children, and continues UNICEF activism.
  2. Luca Dotti: A graphic artist with one child, also upholds his mother's UNICEF legacy.
  3. Fashion Influence: Hepburn's iconic style keeps inspiring designers and celebrities.
  4. Artistic Heritage: Her films and performances are celebrated, keeping her spirit alive in the entertainment industry.

Audrey Hepburn, daughter of Ella Van Heemstra and Ian van Ufford, was educated at Miss Rigdens, spent her childhood in various countries, and, having British citizenship, attended school in England.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Genealogy of Audrey Hepburn?

You're inquiring about Audrey Hepburn's genealogy. She descended from English and Dutch lineage, had two sons, and her ancestors' travels reflect her varied heritage. Her family's history shapes her celebrated legacy.

Are Audrey Hepburn and Katherine Hepburn Related?

You might think they're related due to their last names, but Audrey Hepburn and Katharine Hepburn aren't family. They're simply two iconic actresses who share no blood relation.

Did Audrey Hepburn Have Biological Children?

Yes, you're correct—Audrey Hepburn had two biological children, Sean Hepburn Ferrer and Luca Dotti, both of whom have upheld her philanthropic legacy with their own endeavors in humanitarian work.

Who Is Audrey Hepburn Family Members?

You're asking about the relatives of a famous individual. Audrey Hepburn had English and Dutch ancestry, two sons, Sean and Luca, and also two half-brothers, Michael and Ian, from her mother's previous marriage.


In conclusion, Audrey Hepburn's family tree is a tapestry of nobility, artistry, and complex relationships.

Your exploration reveals aristocratic roots, the Ruston's banking heritage, and connections to celebrated figures.

Despite personal losses, Audrey's lineage carries on through her children, ensuring that her enduring legacy, both onscreen and through humanitarian efforts, is woven into the fabric of her descendants.

This intricate genealogy reflects the depth and diversity behind her iconic status.