Born on February 9, 1987 in Aberdeen, Scotland, Rose Eleanor Arbuthnot-Leslie is a Scottish actress probably best known for her roles on “Downton Abbey” and as wildling Ygritte on “Game of Thrones.”
Rose Leslie is the third of five children and she grew up in Lickleyhead Castle, the family’s 15th century ancestral seat. Seriously, the castle is more than 500 years old, and is set on 30 acres of forests and gardens. (It has turrets; seven bedrooms, a great hall, a drawing room with a giant log fireplace and a wood-paneled dining room. Her parents rent it out for weddings.)
As a girl, Rose went to a local primary school, and then transferred to the private Millfield School. Later, she graduated with a BA Honours degree from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
Rose Leslie made her acting debut in “New Town” and her performance earned her a Scottish BAFTA for Best Acting Performance – New Talent.
But it was her role, she said, on “Downton Abbey” that opened a lot of doors. “I think Downton was incredible in helping me get [the part of Ygritte].” She added about the costuming on Downton, “I just could not tell you, those corsets were hugely uncomfortable...it was constant pressure on your ribcage and your back. But I was hugely comfortable in my Ygritte costume. I was so nice and warm and it was furry with many layers on the inside.”
Rose Leslie said of her character Ygritte on “Game of Thrones,” (from which she joined during its second season): “I was so happy to be holding a bow and arrow…I was able to kind of do some archery lessons before just so I didn’t look like a right numpty.” She added, “Nobody’s actually come up to me saying that she inspires them, but she certainly inspired me to be tougher. I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to the cold.”
Rose Leslie shot her scenes in “Game of Thrones” in Iceland, where she had the chance to try whale for the first time. “It was very chewy and quite fatty…it was delicious. I loved it.”
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Rose Leslie’s family actually has their own sigil, a griffin on a shield. “Our motto is ‘Grip Fast.’” And if she sat on the Iron Throne, her first edict would be “Free chocolate cake for all! It would me popular. That’s why I’d go for it.”
TMZ reported that Rose Leslie was dating her “Game of Thrones” co-star, Kit Harington.
When not filming, she lives in London, England.