Rose Maylie

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Rose Fleming Maylie
The Writings of Charles Dickens v4 p438 (engraving).jpg
Rose and Oliver visit the memorial to Oliver's mother
Created by Charles Dickens
Portrayed by Barbara Kent (1933), Keira Knightley (1999), Morven Christie (2007)
Gender Female
Family Agnes Fleming (sister, deceased)
Mrs Maylie (adoptive mother)
Oliver Twist (nephew)
Captain Fleming (father, deceased)
Spouse(s) Harry Maylie

Rose Fleming Maylie is a character in Charles Dickens' novel Oliver Twist, who is eventually discovered to be Oliver's maternal aunt. Though she plays a significant role in the novel, she is often omitted from dramatisations of the story.


Rose is portrayed as pure, innocent and beautiful. Seventeen years old at the time of the novel's events, she is set up as a dramatic foil to Nancy, who is around the same age and sees her own degradation in contrast to Rose.[1]


Rose is an orphan whose original surname was Fleming. She is raised from childhood by Mrs. Maylie, who adopted her from a poor family who were looking after her. She refers to Rose as her niece.[2] Rose is haunted by the thought that she may be illegitimate, and so she rejects the suit of Mrs. Maylie's son Harry for fear that marriage to her may harm his career in the church.

Bill Sikes and Toby Crackit, two thieves, break into the Maylies' house, accompanied by Oliver, who they use to get access, as he is small enough to climb through a window. Oliver is shot and wounded by Giles, the butler of the Maylies.

Later, Rose learns about Oliver's plight from Nancy. She offers to help Nancy escape from Sikes, but Nancy refuses to leave him. Rose teams up with Mr. Brownlow to rescue Oliver. It is later revealed that she is Oliver's aunt.[3] Her sister Agnes Fleming was Oliver's mother. Like Oliver, she was a victim of Monks' plotting.

Towards the end of the novel Rose becomes seriously ill and is apparently on the point of death. Harry hastens to her side and declares his love for her. She recovers and the couple are married.

Notable portrayals[edit]

Barbara Kent as Rose in the 1933 film

Rose Maylie is completely omitted from the musical Oliver! and the film thereof. She is also missing from the 1948 and 2005 film versions of the novel. Often Rose's familial relationships differ from those of the original novel, with Mr. Brownlow (with whom she had no connection before bonding over their acquaintances with Oliver in the novel) occasionally appearing as her uncle or adopted guardian.

In the 1922 film she is portrayed by Esther Ralston

In the 1933 film she is played by Barbara Kent.

In the 1985 miniseries she is played by Lysette Anthony

In the 1997 Disney television film, she is played by Olivia Caffery.

In the 1999 miniseries of Oliver Twist, Rose is played by English actress Keira Knightley.

In the 2007 miniseries, Rose is played by Scottish actress Morven Christie.


  1. ^ Bromburg, M. & Morris,V., Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist, Barron's Educational Series, 1 Jan 1985, p.15.
  2. ^ Hayward, Arthur, "Maylie", The Dickens Encyclopaedia: Routledge Library Editions: Charles Dickens, Volume 8, Routledge, 17 Jun 2013.
  3. ^ Rodney Dale, The Dickens Dictionary, Wordsworth Editions, 2004, p.61.