Helena Bonham Carter was born and raised in London, England.
Bonham Carter’s heritage is a fascinating mix of religious diversity and political/economic power. Her mother hails from a Jewish Austrian family and her father from a part Catholic, part Jewish family. Her paternal grandfather was a Spanish diplomat during World War II, who helped thousands of French Jews escape Nazi occupiers. She relates a family story:
My mother, who was 5 at the time, said he at one point was stamping [exit] documents with both hands. She thought it was the most important thing he ever did in his life.
However, her grandmother, for reasons unknown to Bonham Carter, made a pact to convert to Catholicism if everyone in her family survived World War II, which they apparently did, because now Helena considers herself a “Jewish Catholic.”
However, she admits that her upbringing was not very religious, despite being brought up in a heavily-Jewish neighborhood. In the end, one gets the sense that religion for Bonham Carter is a family curiosity, rather than an influential factor in her worldview.
Again, Bonham Carter’s involvement in politics has much to do with her friends and relatives. Her great-grandfather, H.H. Asquith, was the Prime Minister of England from 1908 to 1916, her cousin, Jane Bonham Carter is a politician in the Liberal Democrat Party of England, and she’s friends with England’s current Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron.
In fact, Bonham Carter’s relationship with Cameron calls into question her overall political views. Is she a Tory, or are they friends who just don’t discuss politics? Perhaps the real, behind-the-scenes Cameron does agree with Bonham Carter’s views. She said that Cameron is “not that Conservative, actually” and added:
I mean, he’s not a right-wing person. If he was in America, he’d be a Democrat.
Bonham Carter supported a Liberal Democrat-Conservative Party coalition initiative to institute an “alternative voting” system in the UK where voters would rank preferred candidates numerically. But she has personal connections to both parties, plus it’s an interesting idea, so it all amounts to a bit of mystery regarding Bonham Carter’s socio-political worldview.
She doesn’t seem to be overtly concerned with environmentalism, gay marriage, or any other hot button issue. But who knows? If we’ve missed something, let us know.