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Royally Hidden | Who Are the Aristocrat DJs and Actors of Europe?

These famous figures have had such monumental and legendary careers that, in a way, these Hollywood stars are a form of royalty on their own.

However, little do we know that they are literally Hollywood royalty, descended from kings, queens, chieftains, and nobles from around the world. 

In America, we have celebrity royal bloodlines running through famous figures like Beyonce, Ellen Degeneres, Tilda Swinton, Uma Thurman, Idina Moncreiffe, Paris Hilton and much much more.

However, there are a few who reside in Europe too: 

Nick Ashley Cooper

after John Greenhill, oil on canvas, (circa 1672-1673)

He was never supposed to inherit his father’s title or land. So, he carved a new path for himself in the clubs of New York City—until two shocking tragedies thrust a new legacy upon him.

Nicholas Ashley-Cooper was only 26 when he found out that his life was about to change forever. 

The sudden realization occurred in 2004 when his father was murdered by his own estranged wife. Six months later, Ashley-Cooper’s elder brother died of a heart attack. 

These events catapulted him out of his career as a professional DJ in New York and into the hereditary role of the 12th Earl of Shaftesbury.

The 1st Earl of Shaftesbury served as one of the first Lords Proprietors of the province of Carolina in the 1600s.

This also gave him the subsidiary titles Baron Ashley and Baron Cooper.

Returning to the family’s UK estate, St Giles House – then a disused wreck – Ashley-Cooper took on the mantle of its restoration, enrolling in the London Business School and turning parts of the home into accommodation and an events space. 

Through tireless research and resourceful collaboration with craftsmen, restoration artists and historians, he created a thoroughly modern place for his own young family to live and grow.

Now formally known as Nicholas Edmund Anthony Ashley-Cooper, the DJ turned Earl, now owns a 9,000-acre estate in Dorset and inherited assets of about £13m, including a chateau in Versailles.

During the following years, the 12th Earl did head back to New York, DJing for the Royal Oak Foundation’s Follies fund-raiser at the Prince George Ballroom, to support the National Trust. 

He still occasionally DJs at his estate for rare and special occasions. 


Rose Leslie

The story of BAFTA-winning actress Rose Leslie.

Long before Rose Leslie stormed the fictional ‘Castle Black’ on HBO’s fantasy series Game of Thrones, she marauded another castle — her own. 

A descendant of King Charles II of England, Leslie grew up in a 15th-century castle in Scotland but landed her breakout television role in a very different setting.

She was cast as a below-the-stairs maid in Downton Abbey.

Formally known as Rose Eleanor Arbuthnot-Leslie, the actress was born and raised in Lickleyhead Castle, which has been her family’s home in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, since the 15th century. 

Both her parents were born from royal lineage lines. Leslie’s father is the chieftain of the Aberdeenshire clan while her mother is a descendant of King Charles 11. 

After a huge restoration process, the £1.3 million castle was transformed into a fully functioning holiday home and wedding venue with newly-decorated bedrooms and modern bathrooms. 

The castle can sleep up to 16 guests. But it costs up to £5,500 for a weekend stay, with a full-time butler and chef for extra. 

After marrying her fellow Game of Thrones co-star, Kit Harington, who stars as Jon Snow (also related to King Charles II through his grandmother Lavender Cecilia Denny) in 2018, the two have been inseparable. 

Since then her parents have moved into the nearby 12th-century Warthill Castle, while Leslie and Harington live in a massive rural estate in Suffolk, England worth almost $2.5 million.

In the end

We may recognise their faces from Hollywood red carpets but what we didn’t know is that some actors, DJs and performers are lucky enough to rank as royalty the first time they ever stepped onto a set.

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