6 Things To Know About Rose Williams

Want to know more about the multi-talented leading lady of Sanditon, Rose Williams? We’ve got the inside scoop for you! Get to know the actress bringing Charlotte Heywood to life on screen with our six facts about Williams, including what career path she almost took instead of acting, what hidden talents she has, and more! You can also check out the fun behind-the-scenes content she has shared on her Instagram account. Don’t forget to watch all new episodes of Sanditon on Sundays at 9/8c on MASTERPIECE on PBS.


  1. 1.

    Initially, her dream was to work in fashion.

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    Williams aspired to follow in the footsteps of her mother, who worked in the costume department at the BBC. She lived for the fashion world, even working at the popular multi-brand retailer Dover Street Market in London when she was 17, and working with the costume departments for shows such as Misfits and Big School back in the early 2010’s. Though it may not have been her career destiny in the end, it gave her a newfound sense of independence.

    “When I paid my first bills in my own flat at 18 years old was a big moment for me,” Williams told Glamour Magazine. “But I was also eating pound shop food and super noodles. I also remember eating frozen jacket potatoes you would heat in the microwave. I had a terrible diet because I didn’t have much money, but I had a real satisfaction by paying my bills with my own money. When I paid my water and electricity bill I felt like a real adult!”

    When she started changing her mind about fashion as a career path, she had a revelation: she wanted to be an actress. Not long after that, at the age of 20, she booked her first major television role on a series called Reign, a drama based on the life of Mary, Queen of Scots, and has continued booking roles ever since.

  2. 2.

    Sanditon was her first leading role — but it almost didn’t happen!

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    Due to prior commitments, Williams’ first leading role as Jane Austen heroine Charlotte Heywood almost didn’t happen. She was first asked to audition for a supporting role, but when the opportunity to play the lead came along, Williams jumped at the chance. She was asked for an audition tape one Friday, submitted it that weekend, and by Monday she had the part. Filming officially began on her 25th birthday–a memorable experience, to say the least.

    “Playing a part where [Charlotte] speaks her mind in such a way and has a confidence about her made me find my voice a little bit more, too,” Williams told Glamour. “It’s my first leading role so it required a lot from me. It felt like it fell out of the sky. …I hadn’t explored Jane Austen’s work before in depth, and I am glad I explored her writing later in life as I had more life experiences to understand the scope of her message and legacy. It really felt like a deep learning experience from start to end and continues to be.”

  3. 3.

    She filmed a movie with Jennifer Ehle, who once played Elizabeth Bennet!

    In 1995, Sanditon creator Andrew Davies famously adapted Pride and Prejudice for BBC, starring Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet. In 2016, Ehle played Vinnie Dickinson (the younger sister of iconic poet Emily Dickinson) in A Quiet Passion, alongside stars such as Cynthia Nixon, Emma Bell, and Rose Williams. Williams played the younger version of Vinnie Dickinson in the film. Small world, indeed!

  4. 4.

    She and her cast mates had a blast on set!

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B3kilRtFvwV/

    Filming a serious, dramatic period series doesn’t have to mean all work and no play for the actors involved. Williams and her cast mates–including Leo Suter (Young Stringer), Jack Fox (Edward Denham), Crystal Clarke (Miss Lambe) and Charlotte Spencer (Esther Denham)– proved that co-workers most certainly can be friends, as evidenced by their hilarious behind-the-scenes videos on Williams’ Instagram account.

  5. 5.

    She’s got moves.

    A keen sense of fashion and some serious acting chops aren’t the only skills in Williams’ arsenal. The Sanditon star is also a talented dancer, from hip-hop to contemporary and even 1800’s ballroom dances.

  6. 6.

    She speaks her mind — just like Charlotte!

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B2cwIP3FE70/

    Just like Charlotte Heywood, Rose Williams is modern, progressive and has strong beliefs. When she first saw the script for Sanditon, she asked if it was an all-white cast–the answer was important to her. And upon hearing more about the character of Miss Lambe (played by Crystal Clarke), Williams was thrilled.

    “If it was it would have given me a twinge as it’s not historically accurate and not relevant to have an all-white cast in a period drama. It’s actually very untruthful!” she said in her interview with Glamour. “There is a lot of retelling needed and characters like Lady Lambe did exist. Jane Austen actually wrote the character about an heiress from Antigua. So, when I saw that in the script I thought, ‘I am in!’ There is a lot of ground to be covered when it comes to representation in period dramas and that is why I absolutely love the character of Miss Lambe.”

Want to learn more about the cast of Sanditon? Check out our feature 7 Things About Theo James now and learn more about Sanditon‘s leading man! Plus, get to know the intriguing and eclectic characters of Sanditon ahead of the premiere on Sunday, January 12 at 9/8c.

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