Noël Leslie, Countess of Rothes

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The Countess of Rothes
Countess of rothes.jpg
Born (1878-12-25)25 December 1878
Kensington, London
Died 12 September 1956(1956-09-12) (aged 77)
Hove, Sussex
Known for RMS Titanic
Title Countess of Rothes
Spouse(s) 19th Earl of Rothes
Claud Macfie
Children Malcolm George Dyer-Edwardes Leslie
John Wayland Leslie
Parents Thomas and Clementina Dyer-Edwardes
Relatives Gladys Cherry, cousin

Lucy Noël Martha Leslie, Countess of Rothes (25 December 1878 – 12 September 1956) was the wife of the 19th Earl of Rothes, whom she married on 19 April 1900. She is best known as a survivor of the RMS Titanic.

Biography[edit]

She was born in Kensington, London. "Noëlle," as she spelled her forename of choice, was the only child of Thomas and Clementina Dyer-Edwardes.

Lord and Lady Rothes had two children:

  • Malcolm George Dyer-Edwardes Leslie, Lord Leslie (later 20th Earl of Rothes) (1902–1975), married Beryl Violet Dugdale, daughter of Captain James Lionel Dugdale and Maud Violet Woodroffe, on 17 July 1926 and had issue.
  • The Honourable John Wayland Leslie (1909–1991). He had issue.

Noëlle Rothes is best known as a survivor of the RMS Titanic. She embarked at Southampton with her parents, Thomas and Clementina Dyer-Edwardes, cousin Gladys Cherry, and maid Roberta Maioni. Her parents disembarked at Cherbourg, while the others continued, en route for New York and possibly Vancouver, British Columbia. While Lady Rothes and her cousin were originally installed in the first class basic cabin C37, it is possible they upgraded to a more commodious suite, C77 (in an interview with the American press, she has been quoted as having said she and her cousin stayed in stateroom B77).

The Countess, her cousin and maid were rescued in lifeboat 8. Thomas William Jones, the able seaman in charge of their lifeboat, later said Rothes "had a lot to say, so I put her to steering the boat," a compliment on her leadership abilities. She took the tiller, asking her cousin to assist her until she went to sit next to and comfort a young Spanish newlywed, María de Soto y Peñasco, whose husband had remained behind on the sinking liner. There she remained for the duration of the night, rowing all the while and helping to boost the morale of other women until their lifeboat was picked up by the RMS Carpathia; once aboard Carpathia, she devoted herself to the care of the steerage women and children from Titanic.[1] As a token of his esteem, Jones later presented her with the brass number plate from their lifeboat. The Countess wrote to Jones every Christmas, and the two maintained correspondence until her death. The number plate is now in the possession of the Countess' grandson Alastair Leslie of Leslie, Fife.

After her husband died in March 1927, Lady Rothes remarried on 22 December 1927, to Colonel Claud Macfie, DSO, in London. The Countess retained her title. The couple had no children. She died in Hove, Sussex, on 12 September 1956, having suffered for some time from heart disease.

The Countess of Rothes was portrayed in William Hale's 1979 film SOS Titanic by actress Kate Howard, in James Cameron's 1997 film Titanic by Rochelle Rose and in Jon Jones's 2012 mini-series Titanic by Pandora Colin.

The recent bestselling e-book Lifeboat No. 8, by author Elizabeth Kaye, focused on the Countess' experience of the Titanic's sinking.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lehrer, Stanley; McMillan, Beverly (1998). Titanic: fortune & fate: catalogue from the Mariners' Museum Exhibition. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 96. ISBN 0-684-85710-3. 

The RNLI Fraserburgh Lifeboat introduced to service in 1915 was named "Lady Rothes" by the Countess herself. The lifeboat was provided out of a gift from Mr Dyer-Edwardes, father of the Countess in gratitude for the saving of lives at sea.

She is mentioned in the first episode of the British TV series "Downton Abbey" as having spent some time with the Crawleys shortly before boarding the Titanic and expressing excitement over the voyage. Upon hearing of the disaster, Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham remarks; "Isn't this terrible? When you think how excited Lucy Rothes was at the prospect.'"

External links[edit]