By now, most of us have seen James Cameron’s 1997 classic, Titanic. While the main focus of the film is on Jack and Rose, some of the characters actually did exist. One in particular was the center of a controversial accusation following the ship’s wreck.
Lady Duff Gordon is described in the film as an aristocratic fashion designer, which is true. She and her husband, Sir Cosmo, were among the 12 people on board Titanic Lifeboat No. 1.
12 people on a boat that could easily fit up to 40. While many more lifeboats were sent off under-capacity, it’s something that occurred on the lifeboat that eventually led to an investigation and the infamous name, “The Money Boat.”
What we know for sure is that Sir Cosmo offered each crew member aboard the lifeboat £5. The controversy is centered on why he offered these payments. Out of sympathy, Sir Cosmo offered some financial assistance.
However, speculation arose when Titanic Lifeboat No. 1 never came back to help survivors.
Could the money Sir Cosmo paid out have been a bribe, rather than a kind gesture? While Lady Duff and her husband were never formally charged, the controversy followed them. As a result, items involving the two have gone on to sell at auctions for staggering amounts.
In 2012, the kimono that Lady Duff wore during her escape from the Titanic made a whopping $75,000! Now, three more artifacts are heading to auction: a letter written by Lady Duff’s secretary, detailing the inquiry following the sinking, a ticket to one of the boat’s Turkish baths, and a menu from the Titanic’s last lunch, which is expected to fetch $95,000 to $159,000.
What do you think of the controversy that existed? Did Sir Cosmo and Lady Duff Gordon bribe others to prevent more people from climbing into the boat? Use the comments section below and share your thoughts. We’d love to hear from you!
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