More than two decades after James Cameron’s 1997 epic Titanic hit theaters, Jack and Rose’s ill-fated romance continues to captivate people the world over. And though the characters were entirely fictional, their tragic tale wasn’t all that different from that of a real couple on board the Titanic in 1912. But who were they, and what makes their story so heart-rending, even a hundred years later?
It was midday on Wednesday April 10, 1912, in the port of Southampton, England, when RMS Titanic lifted her anchor for the first time. She was the quickest, largest and grandest ocean liner of her time. And after three years in construction, she was finally ready for what was set to be an historic journey. But, as we know, the iconic vessel would never complete her maiden voyage.
Measuring an impressive 882 feet 9 inches in length and weighing more than 46,000 tons, the Titanic was celebrated worldwide as a phenomenal feat of engineering. When she set off, the ship was carrying around 2,200 people – barely half of her full capacity. But none of those passengers – from movie stars and millionaires to immigrants looking for a fresh start – could have foreseen the dreadful fate that would befall this “unsinkable” ship.