Rose Eleanor Arbuthnot-Leslie (born 9 February 1987)[1] 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 starred as Maia Rindell for three seasons of the CBS All Access legal and political drama The Good Fight.

Rose Leslie
Rose Leslie (March 2013) (headshot).jpg
Leslie in 2013
Rose Eleanor Arbuthnot-Leslie

(1987-02-09) 9 February 1987 (age 33)
Alma materLondon Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
Years active2005–present
Kit Harington (m. 2018)

Early life and ancestryEdit

Leslie was born in Aberdeen, Scotland[2] and raised at Lickleyhead Castle in Aberdeenshire, her family's 15th-century ancestral seat, where she lived until the age of 10.[3][4] Her father, Sebastian Arbuthnot-Leslie, is the Aberdeenshire Chieftain of Clan Leslie. Her mother is his wife Candida Mary Sibyl "Candy" Weld of Clan Fraser of Lovat, whose maternal great-grandfather was Simon Fraser, 13th Lord Lovat, and a descendant of King Charles II.[5] Another great-grandfather of "Candy" Leslie (née Weld) was Frederick Weld, the 6th Prime Minister of New Zealand. Her family currently lives at the 12th-century Wardhill Castle in Old Rayne.[6][7][8] Her great-great grandfather was Guillermo Landa y Escandón, who served as Mayor of Mexico City,[9] and she is cousin-in-law to the British historian William Dalrymple (FRAS).[10] Leslie's ancestors include 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 Millfield in Street, Somerset,[11] before spending three years at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.[12]


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.[12]

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.[13][14]

In September and October 2010, she became the lead in Nell Leyshon's infamous play Bedlam held at Globe Theatre.[15] 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.[16][17] The Daily Telegraph's Charles Spencer praised her performance, commenting, "Leslie proves genuinely poignant."[18] Her break-through role came as Gwen Dawson, a housemaid, in the first series (2010–11) of the ITV television drama Downton Abbey.[19] In 2011, while on Downton Abbey, Leslie briefly appeared in two episodes of the British drama series Case Histories.[20][21]

Leslie in 2013 for Game of Thrones Comic-Con panel

In 2012, she was cast in seasons two, three and four of the popular HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones as the wildling Ygritte.[22] The A.V. Club's Rowan Kaiser stated: "As Ygritte, [Rose] is both dangerous and flirtatious, and it's fun to watch."[23] Den of Geek's David Crow exclaimed, "A complicated character [...] Rose Leslie devours the screen."[24] In 2013,'s Emily 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,"[25] 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."[26]

While on Game of Thrones, Leslie appeared in the 2012 drama film Now Is Good alongside Dakota Fanning[27] and in episodes of ITV detective television series Vera,[28] Channel 4 conspiracy drama Utopia[29] and BBC One's comedy series Blandings.[30]

From October to November 2014, she appeared in the four-part mini-series The Great Fire.[31] She then starred in the horror film Honeymoon with Harry Treadaway.[32] She has since played DS Emma Lane in the BBC detective drama Luther with Idris Elba with positive response[33] and starred alongside Vin Diesel and Elijah Wood in the 2015 action adventure/fantasy film The Last Witch Hunter.[34][35] In 2016, she portrayed the character of Athena in Sticky Notes with Ray Liotta.[36]

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.[37] In July 2019, it was revealed that Leslie would not return for the show's fourth season.[38]

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.[39] In October 2019 Leslie was cast as Louise Bourget in 20th Century Fox's adaptation of Agatha Christie's novel, Death on The Nile, directed by Kenneth Branagh. The film is slated to be released on October 9th, 2020.[40] In January 2020, Leslie joined the cast of BBC's and World Productions's upcoming series, Vigil.[41]

Personal lifeEdit

Leslie is fluent in French, having lived in France for three years. While working as an actress, she lived in Battersea, London, until moving to North London.[42] She often refers to missing Aberdeen, her hometown, having said: "Aberdeen... in the middle of the countryside, all trees and nature... I feel very much at peace in Scotland".[42]

Leslie began a relationship with her Game of Thrones co-star Kit Harington in 2012. They announced their engagement through The Times in September 2017.[43][44][45][46] Their wedding was held on 23 June 2018.[47] They married at Rayne Church in Aberdeenshire, and the reception was held at nearby Wardhill Castle, owned by Leslie's family.

Politics and other interestsEdit

Leslie supported Scotland remaining part of the United Kingdom during the 2014 Scottish independence referendum campaign.[48] At the 2015 UK general election, she campaigned with the Conservatives in her local constituency of Gordon, Aberdeenshire.[49]

She is a runner and enjoys rock climbing, cooking,[50] skiing, archery and tennis.[12]



Year Title Role Director Notes Ref(s)
2012 Now Is Good Fiona Ol Parker [27]
2014 Honeymoon Bea Leigh Janiak [32]
2015 The Last Witch Hunter Chloe Breck Eisner [34]
2016 The Last Dance Athena Amanda Sharp US title: Sticky Notes [36]
Morgan Dr. Amy Menser Luke Scott [51]
2020 Death on the Nile Louise Kenneth Branagh Post-production [52]


Year Title Role Network Notes Ref.
2008 Banged Up Abroad Kim Channel 5 Episode: "Lima"
2009 New Town Rhian BBC Television film [13]
2010, 2015 Downton Abbey Gwen Dawson ITV 8 episodes [20]
2011 Case Histories Laura Wyre BBC 2 episodes [20]
2012 Vera Lena Holgate ITV Episode: "The Ghost Position" [28]
2012–2014 Game of Thrones Ygritte HBO 17 episodes [22]
2014 Blandings Niagra Donaldson BBC One Episode: "Custody of the Pumpkin" [30]
Utopia Young Milner Channel 4 Episode #2.1 [29]
The Great Fire Sarah Farriner ITV 4 episodes [31]
2015 Luther DS Emma Lane BBC One 2 episodes [33]
2016 Revolting Rhymes Red Riding Hood (voice) BBC One 2 episodes
2017–2019 The Good Fight Maia Rindell CBS All Access Main role [37]
2019 Saturday Night Live Herself Episode: "Kit Harington/Sara Bareilles" [53]


Year Title Venue / touring theatre Director Ref
2005–2015 Mixed Up North Touring
Wilton's Music Hall
Octagon Theatre
Max Stafford-Clark [12]
Romeo and Juliet Love and Madness Company John Link
Can-Can LAMDA Anne Durham
Pericles Rodney Cottier
The Learned Ladies Jenny Lipman
The Caucasian Chalk Circle Touring
Out of Joint Theatre Company
MacOwan Theatre
John Baxter
Breaking Barriers in Burnley Out of Joint Theatre Company Robin Soans & Clark
Uncle Vanya LAMDA Colin Cook
Antigone Mark Bell kings
The Children's Monologues Royal Court Theatre Danny Boyle
Bedlam Globe Theatre Nell Leyshon

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
2009 British Academy Scotland New Talent Awards Best Acting Performance New Town Won
2013 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
(shared with the cast)
Game of Thrones Nominated



  1. ^ "Rose Leslie". Archived from the original on 13 September 2015. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  2. ^ "Downton Abbey web-site". Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  3. ^ McDonald, Toby (12 October 2011). "Downton Abbey maid Rose Leslie grew up a Scottish castle Lady". Daily Record. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
  4. ^ The 15th century castle where Game of Thrones star Rose Leslie grew up is up for rent on Airbnb
  5. ^ Smith, Emma. "Aberdeenshire castle where Game of Thrones star Rose Leslie was born is put on the market for £1.3 million". dailyrecord. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  6. ^ Leslie, Sebastian. "Warthill Castle". About Scotland. Archived from the original on 24 November 2012. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
  7. ^ "Clan Leslie, Aberdeenshire Council". Aberdeenshire Council. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
  8. ^ "Obituary Jillian Ada Burcher". Newsletter of Clan Leslie Society of Australia and New Zealand, CLANZ. December 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
  9. ^ "Obituary for Mary Luz Arbuthnot-Leslie".
  10. ^ Atwood, Margaret (22 March 2015). "Margaret Atwood on Game of Thrones: 'Real people, every murderous one'". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  11. ^ "Old Millfieldian Society". Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  12. ^ a b c d "Rose Leslie" (PDF). London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. 17 July 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  13. ^ a b c "New Talent Awards in 2009". The BAFTA site: Scotland. British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
  14. ^ "Awards and Nominations". LAMDA. The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Archived from the original on 29 October 2012.
  15. ^ "Review of Nell Leyshon's Bedlam at the Shakespeare Globe Theatre in London 2010". Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  16. ^ "Rose Leslie CV". Hamilton Hodell. Retrieved 7 December 2011.
  17. ^ "Charliebrown" (20 July 2010). "Downton Abbey – Rose Leslie". Enchanted Serenity of Period Films. Ottawa, Canada:
  18. ^ "Bedlam, Globe Theatre, review". Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  19. ^ "Downton Abbey web-site". Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  20. ^ a b c "Case Histories, Series 1, Case Histories – Part 1". BBC. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  21. ^ "Cast and Credits". PBS. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  22. ^ a b "Rose Leslie: 'It was hard to say goodbye to Ygritte'". The Guardian. 11 January 2015. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  23. ^ Kaiser, Rowan. "GAME OF THRONES RECAP 6: THE OLD GODS AND THE NEW". Press Play. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  24. ^ "Game of Thrones: The Watchers On The Wall Review". Den of Geek. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  25. ^ "Game of Thrones (experts): "The Climb" (for experts)". Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  26. ^ Sullivan, Spencer Kornhaber, Christopher Orr, and Amy. "The One Disappointing Thing About That Huge Game of Thrones Battle". The Atlantic. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  27. ^ a b "Now Is Good (2012) – Cast, Crew & Credits". Moviefone. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  28. ^ a b "'Vera,' Episode 5: 'The Ghost Position'". KCET. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  29. ^ a b Jeffery, Morgan (16 October 2013). "'Game of Thrones' star Rose Leslie joins 'Utopia' series 2". Digital Spy. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  30. ^ a b "Blandings, Series 2, Custody of the Pumpkin". BBC. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  31. ^ a b "ITV casting announcement of The Great Fire". ITV Press Centre. 4 March 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  32. ^ a b "Rose Leslie's 'Honeymoon' turns horrible in new clip". Entertainment Weekly. 12 September 2014. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  33. ^ a b "Luther series 4 episode 2 review". Den of Geek. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  34. ^ a b "Vin Diesel's Bushy 'The Last Witch Hunter' Beard". Bloody Disgusting. 4 March 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  35. ^ Mr. Disgusting (6 August 2015). "New 'The Last Witch Hunter' Trailer Pits Vin Diesel in the Middle of a Witch War!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  36. ^ a b Lesnick, Silas (4 June 2014). "Sticky Notes Adds Rose Leslie, Justin Bartha and Gina Rodriguez". Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  37. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (12 October 2016). "'The Good Wife': Rose Leslie Cast In Spinoff Series For CBS All Access". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  38. ^ Haring, Bruce (20 July 2019). "'The Good Fight' Says Goodbye To Original Cast Member Rose Leslie". Deadline. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  39. ^ "New Echo Trailer From Ultra Ultra Finally Reveals Voice Actor". Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^ a b "Interview: Rose Leslie, from Wildling warrior to London detective". The Scotsman. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  43. ^ "'Game of Thrones' Co-Stars Kit Harington and Rose Leslie Make Red Carpet Debut as a Couple". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
  44. ^ "Game of Thrones' Kit Harington and Rose Leslie Share Serious PDA During L.A. Shopping Trip". Retrieved 11 May 2016.
  45. ^ "Game of Thrones stars Kit Harington and Rose Leslie to wed". BBC. 27 September 2017. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  46. ^ Low, Valentine (27 September 2017). "Game of Thrones stars Kit Harington and Rose Leslie to marry". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
  47. ^ "Game of Thrones stars hold castle wedding". 23 June 2018 – via
  48. ^ "Scottish Game Of Thrones actress backs Union". Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  49. ^ "Game of Thrones star joins the Tory campaign trail in north-east". Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  50. ^ "DATE WITH KATE: ROSE LESLIE". Kate Waterhouse. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  51. ^ Getell, Oliver (24 May 2016). "First look at Kate Mara in Luke Scott's sci-fi thriller Morgan". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  52. ^ Fox & Kenneth Branagh’s All-Star Agatha Christie Movie ‘Death On The Nile’ Begins Production In UK
  53. ^ Schwartz, Ryan (13 March 2019). "Kit Harington, Emma Stone to Host SNL in April; Sara Bareilles, BTS to Perform". TVLine.
  54. ^ "SAG Awards Nominations: '12 Years A Slave' and 'Breaking Bad' Lead Way". Deadline Hollywood. 11 December 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  55. ^ Filumena March Philipps is the great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Charles II.

External linksEdit