Financier Ben Goldsmith has paid tribute to his ‘academic superstar’ daughter who tragically died in a quad bike crash on the family farm earlier this week – as he releases never-before-seen pictures of the 15-year-old.
Ambulance crews were called to the Goldsmiths’ home in the Somerset village of North Brewham on Monday afternoon after the millionaire financier’s eldest daughter Iris Annabel, 15, was involved in a collision.
At the time of the accident, Iris was with a friend who immediately raised the alarm after her vehicle – an all-terrain buggy with roll-cage – overturned. But despite the desperate attempts of paramedics at the scene, she could not be saved.
Mr Goldsmith, 38, and his former wife Kate Rothschild, 37, have been left ‘devastated’ by the death of their ‘beautiful, brilliant little girl’. He has now revealed that Iris had wanted to be a ‘barrister’ when she grew up and had been an ‘academic superstar’.
He told the Daily Mail: ‘I just can’t get my head round the enormity of what’s happened — it’s just so unfair. I’m feeling desperate, like I can’t breathe most of the time.’
In a previously unseen photograph released to the Mail, Iris is seen cradling her newly born half-sister, Eliza, in 2016. She tragically died after a quad bike crash on the family farm in Somerset earlier this week
In another never-before-seen image, Iris is pictured on a family holiday in South Africa in 2017. She is the the daughter of Ben Goldsmith and his ex-wife Kate Rothschild
Mr Goldsmith (right) has paid tribute to his daughter (left), revealing she was an ‘academic superstar and was going to be a huge success.’ He added that Iris had wanted to be a barrister when she grew up
In a heart-breaking tribute to his adored daughter, he said: ‘She was only 15. I just want my beautiful, brilliant little girl back so much.
‘She was a real star in the making and I am so proud of her. She was an academic superstar and was going to be a huge success. She wanted to be a barrister. No child has ever worked harder.’
In a previously unseen photograph released to the Mail, Iris is seen cradling her newly born half-sister, Eliza, in 2016.
In another, she is pictured on a family holiday in South Africa the following year. Iris was one of three children from Ben’s first marriage, to banking heiress Kate Rothschild.
As well as Eliza, Ben has a son, Arlo, with his second wife, Jemima, a model-turned-society caterer.
‘The only solace these last few miserable days has been having all my family here with us,’ Mr Goldsmith continued.
Mr Goldsmith had been playing cricket when he took heard his 15-year-old daughter’s quad bike crash. He rushed back to Somerset from Charterhouse School in Godalming, Surrey, to see her in hospital.
Iris (pictured with her father) was the first child of environmentalist and finance boss Ben and his former wife Kate who are understood to have a joint fortune of over £300million
Millionaire CEO Ben Goldsmith (pictured with his mother Lady Annabel and three of his children including Iris) split with first wife Kate in 2012 and has since wed Jemima Jones (pictured to his left)
Mr Goldsmith was playing a cricket match at Charterhouse School, in Surrey, (above) when he took a call about his tragic daughter’s fatal crash and raced back to Somerset with his sons
He told fellow players that the teenager had been involved in a collision, but at that stage her injuries were not believed to have been life-threatening.
The game was abandoned when Mr Goldsmith sped away from the match with his two elder sons Frankie, 13, and 11-year-old Isaac.
Kalim Khan, who was playing, told MailOnline: ‘We were in the field and Ben’s team was batting when he got a call to say that something was wrong.
‘Two guys came onto the wicket to say that something serious had happened and Ben had to leave.
‘His two sons were with him and half the team were his family and friends so we took the decision to abandon the game.
‘We were told at the time the accident wasn’t serious and that it wasn’t a life-threatening situation. We were told that his daughter was ok, but that she needed to go to hospital.’
Mr Khan went on: ‘Ben was on the phone constantly. Even when he got into the car he was on the phone to someone.
‘We were told she would be fine, but that he had to go. He looked worried, obviously. He seemed concerned as any parent would be, but he wasn’t panicking at that stage.’
Last night, Mr Goldsmith tweeted a heartbreaking message asking God for his ‘little girl back’ after the tragic crash on Monday
Iris is clearly transfixed when meeting Prince Charles at the Royal Rickshaw Reception and Auction at Lancaster House in June, 2015
Iris (pictured with her mother and father) was heir to two of Britain’s, and the world’s, most powerful dynasties, the Goldsmith and Rothschild families worth an estimated £300 million
Locals in the quiet village told of their shock as the high-profile family comes to terms with the teenager’s death, who is the daughter of heiress Kate Rothschild.
Kate, 37, was staying at the country estate when the accident happened.
A family friend told the Mail: ‘This is the most awful accident. Iris was a complete firecracker – an absolute delight. Everyone in the family loved her to bits.
‘She was beautiful, charming, intelligent, wonderful company and absolutely the loveliest person you could meet.
‘Ben and Kate are completely devastated. They are numbed to their core and united in their grief.
‘Iris captured the charm of Ben and the sense of Bohemian charisma of Kate. All the family are rallying round Ben and Kate.’
A man who lives nearby added: ‘Everyone here who’s heard what happened is devastated by this
‘I heard Iris died in a crash involving a quad bike in a field next to the farm. She is the the daughter of Ben Goldsmith and his ex-wife Kate Rothschild.
‘The whole village has been affected by this, as you can imagine. Our hearts go out to her parents and family. It’s a very sensitive time.
‘It absolutely devastating what has happened to Ben and we are all thinking about him and his family.’
Ben and his former wife Kate Rothschild have been left ‘devastated’ by the death of their ‘beautiful, charming, intelligent’ daughter (pictured) in the collision on the family farm
Millionaire financier Ben Goldsmith’s eldest daughter Iris Annabel (pictured with her father) was killed in a quad bike crash at the family’s farm in Somerset on Monday afternoon
Last night, Mr Goldsmith tweeted a heartbreaking message asking God for his ‘little girl back’ after the tragic crash on Monday.
He said: ‘Dear God, please can I have my beautiful, brilliant, kind little girl back, please God.
‘And if not, please take extra special care of her. I love her so so much and I’m so proud of her. It hurts me so much I can’t describe.’
The vehicle Iris was riding with a friend is described as a ‘ranger vehicle’ – an all-terrain buggy with a roll-cage that resembles a cross between a quadbike and a small Jeep.
A spokesman for Avon & Somerset Police confirmed: ‘We were called at about 3.15pm on Monday July 8 to a farm in the North Brewham area following the sudden death of a teenage girl.
‘The girl’s death is not being treated as suspicious and officers are now carrying out enquiries on behalf of the coroner.’
The South Western Ambulance Service said it had sent an air ambulance crew, a critical care team, a land ambulance crew and two more paramedics to the incident on Monday.
Iris was the first child of environmentalist and finance boss Ben and his former wife Kate who are understood to have a joint fortune of over £300million.
The former couple also have two sons; Frank and Isaac.
They separated in 2012 when Kate began a relationship with U.S rapper Jay Electronica.
A spokesman for South Western Ambulance Service confirmed that they had attended the family farm in North Brewham, Somerset, following an ‘incident involving a vehicle’ (Iris is pictured)
Locals in the village of North Brewham said they were devastated by Iris’ death. A conscientious and popular pupil, she had just completed her first year of studying for GCSEs, and was just starting the summer break at her father’s farm when the accident took place
Iris was studying at Wycombe Abbey, a £12,980-a-term independent girls’ boarding school in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, consistently ranked as the top all-girls school nationally in academic results.
A conscientious and popular pupil, she had just completed her first year of studying for GCSEs, and was just starting the summer break at her father’s farm when the accident took place.
An inquest is expected to be opened in the coming days.
Rallying round Mr Goldsmith and his former wife Kate have been his brother, the Tory MP Zac Goldsmith, and his sister, the television producer Jemima.
Their mother Lady Annabel Goldsmith, who inspired the name of Mayfair nightclub Annabel’s, knows only too well what it is like to lose a child. Her eldest son Rupert died aged 30.
Iris died after an accident involving a ‘ranger vehicle’, a cross between a quadbike and a small Jeep (stock image)
A friend told the Daily Mail: ‘She adored her granddaughter and had seen her just the previous week at her annual party in Richmond. It has left her, like all the rest of the family, utterly bereft.’
Iris’s headteacher at Wycombe Abbey, Rhiannon Wilkinson, said: ‘Iris was sparky, inquisitive with an effervescent, sunny personality, which lit up all around her.
‘The whole school community is devastated by such a tragic loss of a happy, well-respected, successful young woman.’
Iris’s funeral will be held next week in South-West London, near the Goldsmiths’ family home.
A family friend said: ‘Iris was extraordinarily popular, the church will be packed to the rafters.’
James Hooke, the headmaster of Iris’ former school, The Harrodian in Barnes, south-west London, has also paid tribute.
He said: ‘The school community is united in its grief over the tragic and sad news of the passing of its former pupil Iris Goldsmith.
‘Our thoughts, love and sympathies are with her family and friends at this awful time. Iris was the most wonderful, dedicated and talented pupil during her seven years at Harrodian.
‘She was a kind, gentle and caring student who adored her school and her friends and was impeccably behaved. It is tragic that such a talented and vivacious child has been taken from us so young.’
Ben married catering company boss Jemima Jones (pictured) two years after his split from Kate and the couple have two young children, Eliza and Arlo
Iris was heir to two of Britain’s, and the world’s, most powerful dynasties, the Goldsmith and Rothschild families.
Together the two society bloodlines are worth billions of pounds and have had a powerful influence over the UK’s financial and political systems for decades.
Ben Goldsmith married catering company boss Jemima Jones, with whom he has two young children, Eliza and Arlo, two years after splitting with Kate.
On Tuesday another friend of Mr Goldsmith said: ‘Ben could not have had more of a joy in his step about his life, new wife and children.
‘Although there have been challenges in his life, his family and children have always come first. What has happened has been a total shock and is just a horrific freak accident.’
He is the youngest child of the late billionaire tycoon and politician Sir James Goldsmith and Lady Annabel Vane-Tempest.
Ben’s older brother is the Tory MP Zac Goldsmith and his sister is documentary and film producer Jemima Khan, the former wife of retired cricketer and current Pakistan Prime Minister, Imran Khan.
He married Kate, heiress to the multi-billion pound Rothschild banking empire, in 2003.
The Old Etonian was appointed a non-executive director at the Department for the Environmentalist , Food and Rural Affairs last year and is an advisor to Environment minister Michael Gove.
He is also chairman of the Goldsmith family’s JMG Foundation, which funds campaigning and advocacy work on environmental issues.