Chapter One: Investing in a Bride 1808-1836
"[I] have to thank you for my fair bride," Lionel Rothschild wrote to his mother, Hannah, from Frankfurt on May 15, 1836. Charlotte was clever, beautiful, and sixteen. Lionel, the eldest of Nathan Mayer's four sons, was already twenty-seven. Although they were first cousins, Charlotte hardly knew him. There weren't many alternatives for the world's wealthiest Jews if they wished to marry within their faith and maintain their status. Lionel might have been surprised by his own reaction, since theirs was an arranged marriage that could easily have failed to please either of the pair.