Born Rose Eleanor Arbuthnot-Leslie
9 February 1987 (age 29)
Residence London, UK
Years active 2005–present
Agent Hamilton Hodell
Height 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
Partner(s) Kit Harington (2012-present)
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 Ygritte in the HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones.
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. 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, great-granddaughter of Simon Fraser, 13th Lord Lovat (a descendant of Charles II). Her family presently owns the 12th century Warthill Castle in Scotland’s Old Rayne.
She is the third of five children and describes growing up together as “important. We are a big, close family”. Jokingly, she recalls having middle child syndrome and being the family’s only redhead and “the sole ‘ginger’ in a 40-mile radius at school” as the predispositions in her desire to become an actress where “different was O.K.” She was educated at Rayne North School and then Millfield School in Street, Somerset, before spending three years at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
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 missing her hometown, saying: “Aberdeen… in the middle of the countryside, all trees and nature. My parents would send us out for the day, we had lots of freedom. Going back is still an escape! I feel very much at peace in Scotland”.
She is an avid runner and enjoys rock climbing, cooking, skiing, archery and tennis.
Leslie has been in an on-and-off relationship with Game of Thrones co-star Kit Harington since 2012. They confirmed their relationship in 2016.
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.