For two decades, Rose Hancock Porteous has fascinated Australians. The Filipina housekeeper who became the lover and then the wife of her millionaire employer has regularly created headlines, but behind the facade of the colourful socialite there is much that has not been revealed about this fabulously flawed woman.
This is Rose's story - thorns and all - beginning with her childhood on the Philippine island of Negros, where the heritage that promised social prominence and financial security mostly delivered family infighting and shame. Rose went from college into a violent and unhappy marriage and onto the dusty streets of Ermita, where she sold goods on the black market to survive. She has done laundry in Madrid, tended bar in Manila and strutted the fashion catwalks of Milan - always leaving a trail of suitors in her wake. Her third marriage, to the aging iron ore magnate Lang Hancock, finally gave her the unparalleled wealth and opulence she desired.
Journalist Robert Wainwright has followed Rose's turbulent life and loves since 1984, when her relationship with Lang Hancock became public. He documents how a besotted Lang allowed his flamboyant wife to spend $30 million in six years, and reveals exactly what happened behind the iron gates of Prix D'Amour in the last days of the millionaire's life. Was Rose a gold-digger, or was she a woman misunderstood by the values of two vastly different cultures?
Bizarre, compelling and insightful, Rose is the roller coaster story of a woman who began life as a small town girl but became one of Australia's wealthiest and most eccentric socialites.