She was born in a small narrow street in Brussels, experienced World War II, became a movie actress admired by millions, and an unusual fashion icon. A statue of Audrey Hepburn will now be placed near the house where she was born.
Between Stephanie Square and the Port de Nemours Metro station, next to a brick building built in 1906, number 48, stands the house of a woman who was destined to be one of the greatest film actresses in history, the most beautiful of many, according to experts, Audrey Hepburn.
A modest metal sign is fixed in the wall of the house. It reads: “Here the actress Audrey Hepburn was born on May 4, 1929.” The residents of the neighborhood felt it was not enough, the responsible people in the municipality agreed. Still, on this street Audrey had spent the first few years of her life, the cobblestones of the pavement shaking her baby carriage, and the sweet smells of the candy and chocolate factory that had been here nearby had enveloped her from morning to evening and penetrated her dreams.
Her mother, Ala van Himmstra, was a Dutch aristocrat whose father the Baron was, among other things, the governor of Suriname. Her father, Joseph Anthony Reston, was a British-Irishman who was sent to run the branch of the Bank of England in Brussels. He changed his last name, Reston, to Hepburn after Audrey was born, because a London genealogist convinced him that his paternal grandmother was a descendant of Count Hepburn, the third husband of the Scottish Queen Mary Stuart. That’s how the world got Audrey Hepburn.
Apart from family attribution, he was an unpleasant type, a fan of Nazis who supported and raised funds for Oswald Mosley, the leader of the British Fascist Party. He and his wife engaged in loud fights until one day, in 1935, he left the house and did not return. The couple formally divorced three years later. Audrey and her mother spent the years of the Second World War in the Netherlands, in a small village near the city of Arnhem, and Audrey became ” Eda van Heemstra ” with the help of forged papers that disguised her being British.
These were difficult years for her, her uncle Otto, a member of the Dutch underground, and his teenage son, were caught and executed, and she witnessed closely the actions of the Nazis. In a book written by Bob Willoughby “Hepburb”, he quotes from her memoirs: “More than once I was at the train station and I saw trains loaded with Jews, I saw the faces in the doorways at the end of the carriages. His parents, very pale, fair-haired, wearing a large coat to measure his lean body, watched him walk, he wears a large coat to measure his thin body. I watched him walk up to the cart. I was a child watching a child. ”
After the war, she moved with her mother to London, became a model, a theater actress, and in 1953 she appeared on a “Roman Holiday,” a romantic comedy played by a princess who captures the heart of Gregory Peck, as an American journalist, won the Academy Award and conquered the world.
In 1992 she was diagnosed with cancer, she was operated on, but the cancer spread in her body. She spent her last days in her home in the Swiss village of Tolochenaz, where she died and buried on January 20, 1993. Her son, Sean Ferrer, lives in the same house – and he is the one who received the request from Natalie Gilson, holder of the culture and heritage portfolio in Ixel.
“He told me that they had a bronze statue of Audrey Hepburn in the village, and he was willing to move it to Brussels, provided the village council agreed to it,” she told him on the other side of the line. The council agreed.
Thus, in the next few days, the municipality will install a green and enclosed corner on Kenwald Street, next to house number 48, and when the statue arrives soon, it will be placed there in a special ceremony. Audrey returns to the neighborhood.