Q: Was Audrey Hepburn Slovak?
Audrey Hepburn was born as Audrey Kathleen Ruston in Brussels (Borough of Ixelles) on 4 May 1929. After a successful career of acting and work for UNICEF, she died in Tolochenaz, Switzerland, on 20 January 1993. Her paternal grandmother Anna née Wels grew up in Kovarce, south-western Slovakia, where she was born on 23 July 1868.
Grandmother from Kovarce
Anna was the 4th child of Anton Wels and Karolina née Schütz. Born on 23 July 1868, she was baptized Anna Julianna Francisca Carolina at Kovarce (Slovakia was part of the Kingdom of Hungary then, a province of the Habsburg monarchy) on 3 August 1868, later than was common because the family waited for the arrival of her godparents, Anton's brother Karl and his wife, from another part of the Habsburg monarchy, Moravia, where the Wels's had first lived in the then-almost exclusively German village of Bavory (now 3 miles north of the Austrian border) and later in Brno. Anton and Karolina had one more daughter after Anna.
Anton founded and co-owned a sugar factory at Kovarce, his was among the wealthiest local families. After the 2nd floor was added, their 10,750-sq. ft. mansion, set in a park, had 25 living and utility rooms, which the family shared with their servants, cooks, a tutor, and hired hands. Anton died of pulmonary edema at the age of 45 on 18 August 1876 and was buried in the crypt of the local church.
Among the suppliers of sugar plant machinery was the Prague-registered Ruston und Co. Anna married Victor Ruston, a son of the entrepreneurial British immigrant brothers to the Habsburg monarchy, on 15 January 1889. Their wedding pictures were taken at a studio in Zlaté Moravce, about 35 miles from Kovarce, but the location of their wedding is unknown. Anna's and Victor's son Joseph, Audrey's future father, was born 20 miles north of Prague in Úžice, a hamlet with a Jos. J. Ruston Sugar Factory then, on 21 November 1889. Anna's mother, Karolina, sold their Kovarce family mansion in 1894, by which time she had moved to Vienna .