Real Titanic Love Story Descendant Visits Titanic Belfast

7 December 2017

Real Titanic Love Story Descendant Visits Titanic Belfast To mark the 20th anniversary of the launch of TITANIC, the movie, Beverley Roberts, a descendent from one of one of the real love stories on board, travelled to Titanic Belfast to join the celebrations.

The story of Titanic has captured hearts and minds worldwide, arguably none more so than the love story between Kate and Leo’s Jack and Rose in James Cameron’s TITANIC movie. Despite being based on fictional characters, the 1997 classic is still listed as one of the best love stories of all time.

Beverley’s great-grandparents, Kate Florence Philips and Henry Morley, had a true love affair and was potentially the inspiration behind the ‘Heart of the Ocean Story Line’.

Beverley explained, “My great grandmother, Kate eloped with the owner of the shop she worked for when she was only 19. He was 20 years her senior with a wife and child. They left for America to start a new life together. Henry, gave her a sapphire diamond necklace set in platinum, called the ‘Love of the Sea’, which she wore proudly on board Titanic. Henry did not survive the tragedy; however, Kate got onboard a lifeboat and brought the necklace with her. She gave birth to Henry’s daughter, Ellen, a few months later, who was my grandmother. So whether it was the inspiration for the movie or not, there was a diamond and sapphire necklace on board that fateful night.”

Beverley visited Titanic Belfast as part of its movie month from 19th November – 19th December. To mark her visit Titanic Belfast has uncovered a few more of the love stories on board.

One of the most popular love stories was that of the owners of Macy’s Department Store, New York,  Mr Isidor Straus, and his wife, Ida, who travelled back from winter in Europe onboard Titanic. Once it was clear Titanic was sinking, Ida refused to leave Isidor and would not get into a lifeboat without him, apparently stating, "I will not be separated from my husband. As we have lived, so will we die, together.” Although Isidor was offered a seat in a lifeboat to accompany Ida, he refused seating while there were still women and children aboard.

Ida also reportedly gave her maid, Ellen, her fur coat as she would no longer need it, and insisted that she got on a lifeboat. A memorial plaque for them can be seen today at the 34th Street Memorial Entrance of Macy's Herald Square.

There was also 13 known honeymooning couples on board Titanic’s maiden voyage, including J.J Astor, owner of Waldorf Astoria Hotel (aged 47), and his nineteen year old wife. According to the New York Times Astor “put up and owned more hotels and skyscrapers than any other New Yorker”, he was estimated to be worth as much as $200 million and was the richest man on Titanic as well as  Nelle Stevenson & John Pillsbury Snyder, a relative of the Pillsbury Company’s founder!

The world-class galleries tell the story of the Titanic, from her conception in Belfast in the early 1900s, through to her construction and launch, to her famous maiden voyage and tragic end. The iconic attraction, which was named the World’s Leading Tourist Attraction last year, has now welcomed over 4 million visitors. For more information, visit www.titanicbelfast.com.