Rose Eleanor Arbuthnot-Leslie (born 9 February 1987), known professionally as Rose Leslie, is a Scottish actress. After winning a Scottish BAFTA for Best Acting Performance for her role in New Town, she rose to fame as Gwen Dawson in the ITV drama series Downton Abbey and as Ygritte in the HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones. She stars as Maia Rindell in the CBS All Access legal and political drama The Good Fight.
Early life and ancestry
Leslie was born to a noble family in Aberdeen, Scotland. She was raised at Lickleyhead Castle in Aberdeenshire, her family's 15th century ancestral seat, where she lived till the age of ten. Her father, Sebastian Arbuthnot-Leslie, is the Aberdeenshire Chieftain of Clan Leslie. Her mother is Candida Mary Sibyl "Candy" Leslie (née Weld) of Clan Fraser, whose maternal great-grandfather was Simon Fraser, 13th Lord Lovat, and descendant of Charles II of Scotland and England. Another great grandfather of Candy Leslie (née Weld) was Frederick Weld, the sixth Prime Minister of New Zealand. Her family currently resides at the 12th century Warthill Castle in Scotland's Old Rayne. Her great-great grandfather was Don Guillermo de Landa y Escandon, who served as Mayor of Mexico City, and she is also cousin-in-law to the British historian, William Dalrymple (FRAS).Leslie's ancestors include French Huguenot Ambrose Lisle March Phillipps De Lisle, politician Charles March-Phillipps and MP James Grimston, 3rd Earl of Verulam.
She was educated at Rayne North School in Aberdeenshire and then the private school Millfield in Street, Somerset, before spending three years at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
Leslie worked for BBC Radio narrating The British Slave Trade: Abolition, Parliament and People. She won a BASSC certificate in stage combat and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in 2008.
Her leading on screen debut came at age 21 in the television film New Town (2009), for which she won the Scottish BAFTA for Best Acting Performance – New Talent Award.
In September and October 2010, she became the lead in Nell Leyshon's infamous play Bedlam held at Globe Theatre. Based on the Bethlem Royal Hospital, representative of the worst excesses of asylums in the era of lunacy reform, Leslie portrayed May, a beautiful country girl driven mad by lost love.The Daily Telegraph's Charles Spencer praised her performance, commenting, "Leslie proves genuinely poignant." Her break-through role came as Gwen Dawson, a housemaid, in the first series (2010–11) of the ITV television drama Downton Abbey. In 2011, while on Downton Abbey, Leslie briefly appeared in two episodes of the British drama series Case Histories.Leslie in 2013 for Game of Thrones Comic-Con panel
In 2012, she was cast in the popular HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones. For her role as wildling Ygritte in seasons two, three and four, Leslie was met with major acclaim. The A.V. Club's Rowan Kaiser stated: "As Ygritte, [Rose] is both dangerous and flirtatious, and it's fun to watch."Den of Geek's David Crow exclaimed, "A complicated character [...] Rose Leslie devours the screen." In 2013, Vox.com's Todd VanDerWerff (under The A.V. Club) review for "The Climb" episode, "(In the books) Ygritte is a means to an end... (but) on screen, as embodied by Rose Leslie, she becomes something more," whilst The Atlantic's Christopher Orr summed up her portrayal in 2014's episode "The Watchers of the Wall" by concluding: "Rose Leslie has been one of a handful of performers on the show who’ve really elevated their characters above what they were in the books."
While on Game of Thrones, Leslie appeared in the 2012 drama film Now Is Good alongside Dakota Fanning and in episodes of ITV detective television series Vera,Channel 4 conspiracy drama Utopia and BBC One's comedy series Blandings.
From October to November 2014, she top-billed in the four-part mini-series The Great Fire. She then starred in the horror film Honeymoon with Harry Treadaway. She has since played DS Emma Lane in the BBC detective drama Luther with Idris Elba with positive response and starred alongside Vin Diesel and Elijah Wood in the 2015 action adventure/fantasy film The Last Witch Hunter. In 2016, she portrayed the character of Athena in Sticky Notes with Ray Liotta.
In 2016, Leslie was cast in The Good Fight, a CBS All Access legal drama and spin off of The Good Wife. She plays Maia Rindell, a new lawyer who just passed the bar and whose family is involved in a financial scam, destroying her reputation. The first episode aired in February 2017.
In 2017 Leslie provided the voice for the female protagonist "En" in the video game Echo, a game by Copenhagen-based game developer Ultra Ultra.
Leslie is fluent in French, having lived in France for three years. While working as an actress, she resided in Battersea, London, until relocating to North London. She often professes to miss her hometown, saying: "Aberdeen... in the middle of the countryside, all trees and nature. ... I feel very much at peace in Scotland".
Leslie began an on-off relationship with Game of Thrones co-star Kit Harington in 2012. They announced their engagement through The Times in September 2017. Their wedding was held on 23 June 2018. They married at Rayne Church in Aberdeenshire, and the reception was held at nearby Wardhill Castle, which is owned by Leslie's family. Game of Thrones co-stars Peter Dinklage, Emilia Clarke, Sophie Turner, and Maisie Williams were in attendance.
Politics and other interests
Rose Leslie declared her support in favour of Scotland remaining a devolved part of the United Kingdom during the 2014 Scottish independence referendum campaign. At the 2015 UK general election, Leslie campaigned with the Conservatives in her local constituency of Gordon, Aberdeenshire. Her father, Sebastian Leslie, was elected to serve as a Conservative Councillor on Aberdeenshire Council as part of the 2017 Council elections, representing the West Garioch ward on the Council.
She is an avid runner and enjoys rock climbing, cooking,skiing, archery and tennis.
Awards and nominations
AncestryAncestors of Rose Leslie 16. Thomas Stainton 8. Ernest Leslie Stainton 17. Annie Hudson 4. Captain Anthony Thomas Stainton 18. David Powell 9. Claudia Annie Powell 19. Mary Jane Jenkins 2. Sebastian Arbuthnot-Leslie 20. George Arbuthnot 10. William Douglas Arbuthnot-Leslie 42. William Leslie 11th Laird of Warthill 21. Mary Rose Leslie 43. Matilda Rose Robinson 5. Mary Luz Arbuthnot-Leslie 44. José María Landa Martínez 22. Guillermo de Landa y Escandon, Governor of Mexico City 45. María Francisca Escandón Garmendia 11. Maria de la Luz de Landa y Osio 23. Sofía de Ossio y del Barrio 1. Rose Eleanor Arbuthnot-Leslie 48. Humphrey Weld 24. Sir Frederick Aloysius Weld 49. Christina Maria Clifford 12. Humphrey Frederick Weld 50. Ambrose Lisle March Phillipps de Lisle 25. Filumena March Philipps 51. Laura Maria Mary Clifford 6. Lt-Col Humphrey Joseph Giles Weld 52. John William Power 26. Edmond de Poher de la Poer, 1st Count de la Poer 53. Frances Power 13. Elinor Mary Trifine de Poher de la Poer 54. Thomas William Gaston Monsell 27. Hon. Mary Olivia Augusta Monsell 55. Frances Vincent de la Poer 3. Candida Mary Weld 56. Thomas Alexander Fraser, 12th Lord Lovat 28. Simon Fraser, 13th Lord Lovat 57. Charlotte Georgina Stafford-Jerningham 14. Hon Alastair Thomas Joseph Fraser 58. Thomas Weld Blundell 29. Alice Mary Weld-Blundell 59. Teresa Mary Eleanora Vaughan 7. Frances Mary Fraser 60. James Walter Grimston, 2nd Earl of Verulam 30. James Grimston, 3rd Earl of Verulam 61. Elizabeth Joanna Weyland 15. Lady Sibyl Grimston 62. Frederick Ulric Graham, 3rd Baronet of Netherby 31. Margaret Frances Graham 63. Lady Jane Hermione Seymour
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- ^ Filumena March Philipps is the great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Charles II.