Countess Rochelle comes ‘home’ to Leslie House

Rochelle Rose and Alistair Leslie
Rochelle Rose and Alistair Leslie
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A HOLLYWOOD actress made an emotional visit to the former home of the woman she played in blockbuster film ‘Titanic’.

Rochelle Rose portrayed the Countess of Rothes in one of the most successful movies of all time.

And during the last weekend’s trip, she met Alistair Leslie, the Countess’ grandson, in the grounds of his family’s ancestral home, Leslie House.

He showed her the plaque from the lifeboat in which the Countess had made her escape from the stricken liner, which sank with the loss of 1,500 lives during its maiden voyage in 1912.

It had been presented to the Countess by able seaman Thomas Jones, in recognition of her help in steering the lifeboat and it’s terrified passengers to safety aboard the rescue ship ‘Carpathia’.

Mr Leslie also brought the engraved watch which the countess had gifted Mr Jones in return along to Sunday’s meeting, which was also attended by Leslie historian Bill Feit, and Jim Mitchell and Linda Ballingall, who are respectively volunteer co-ordinator and chairwoman of Glenrothes Area Heritage Centre.

The two items formed the centrepiece of GAHC’s April exhibition, marking the centenary of the world’s most famous maritime disaster and the part played during it by the Countess, who was on her way to New York to meet her husband, the Earl of Rothes.

Rochelle, who visited during a family holiday in Scotland with her partner, Tim, and their young son, said she had really enjoyed seeing the home where her screen character had lived.

She added: “when we were making the film, it was really pre-internet days and I had to really search around to find what source material there was on the Countess.

“Nowadays, I would have been in touch with the Countess’ family to find out as much as I could about her.

“To meet Alistair, the Countess’ grandson, is amazing and to hold the plaque and the watch is just an incredible, and very moving experience.”

Rochelle has just completed shooting a film with fellow actress Lindsey Lohan, ‘Liz And Dick’, which tells the story of the often stormy relationship between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

She made her screen debut as a child actress in the 1980 adaptation of Agatha Christie’s‘ The Mirror Crack’d’, which also featured Taylor.

Alongside her acting career, Rochelle also works for the Screen Actor’s Guild’scharitable arm.

GAHC’S plan to feature a Titanic display as part of the permanent centre which they hope to open in the next few years, and Rochelle added: “I would love to have seen the exhibition and I will try to come when the centre opens.”

Linda Ballingall added: “It’s great that ourselves and the Gazette were able to bring Rochelle and the grandson of the Countess together in the grounds of Leslie House.”

“It’s just another demonstration of the rich heritage we have in the area, which the centre, when it opens, will celebrate.”