Sep. 26, 2010
90 min.
ITV TV Network

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Downton Abbey (UK)

Downton Abbey is a historical drama written by Julian Fellowes. The series follows the lives of the Crawley family and the servants who work for them in an Edwardian country house just after the turn of the 20th century.

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Lady Edith Crawley Downton Abbey (UK)
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Lady Edith Crawley

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  Played by:
Laura CarmichaelLaura Carmichael
Laura Elizabeth Carmichael was educated at Shirley Junior School, The Mountbatten School, Peter Symonds ...

Character Bio

Lady Edith Crawley photo
Lady Edith Crawley, the second daughter to Lord and Lady Grantham, is twenty in April 1912, when the series begins. During the first series Edith is often the "forgotten" one, as she was not considered as pretty and smooth-talking as her older sister, Mary, and less daring and passionate than Sybil, the youngest. Her bitter rivalry with Mary is further fueled by the fact that Edith genuinely loved the dead heir, Patrick, but no one took her feelings seriously and instead Mary, who had no feelings for Patrick, was engaged to him.

After initially trying to woo Matthew Crawley, she begins a relationship with Sir Anthony Strallan. Towards the end of series one he is on the verge of asking for her hand, but changes his mind when Mary tricks him into thinking that Edith was simply leading him on for her own amusement. Anthony Strallan was Edith's last chance at making a successful marriage, and Mary intentionally intervened in revenge, because Edith had written a letter to the Turkish Embassy in London informing them about the exact nature of their attaché's death in Mary's bed, which was one of the most important factors in her hesitance to accept Matthew's proposal, which results in Matthew withdrawing it.

During the second series, Edith steps out of her comfort zone. She was the first of the Crawley family to learn how to drive an automobile, taking lessons from the chauffeur, Branson. Upon the outbreak of the First World War Edith uses her driving skills to work on a local farm driving tractors, much to the bemusement and gratitude of the farmer. She is exposed to the horrors of war firsthand while helping Sybil and the nurses care for the wounded soldiers. As a result, she becomes more sympathetic and was commended by a visiting general Matthew brought back to Downton while on leave. After the war ended, she tries to resume a relationship with Sir Anthony Strallan, but he refuses as he sustained a severe injury that rendered one of his arms useless, and does not want to tie her down to a disabled veteran.

In series 3 Sir Anthony Strallan eventually proposes to Lady Edith and they become engaged. Some of the family are quietly disapproving of the marriage, but they allow it for Edith's happiness. They are set to marry, but Anthony has second thoughts and jilts her at the altar, leaving Edith devastated, believing she is destined to the life of a spinster. In episode 6, she receives a very interesting proposition to write in a newspaper after writing a letter about women's suffrage. The prospect excites her, and most of the family – with the exception of Violet and Robert – encourage her.

When Lady Edith notices that her editor, Michael Gregson, seems to have romantic feelings for her, she makes inquiries about him. Finding out that he is married, Edith questions him. He tells her that his wife is mentally incapacitated, and is no longer able to recognise him, so he is stuck and unable to move on with his life. Despite having fallen in love with Edith, he decides to step away when her family disapprove of his intentions toward her. The final straw is thought to have come when Matthew, who Edith hoped would understand, comes down on the side of the other Crawleys, advising Gregson to bid Edith goodbye. However, Edith realizes that she loves Gregson, and decides to pursue a relationship with him despite the fact that it cannot lead to a proper marriage. In Series 4, Gregson begins searching for ways to divorce his wife, and learns that by becoming a German citizen, he may be able to achieve this and marry Edith. Gregson soon disappears, after which Edith finds out she is pregnant with his child, increasing her worry.

As much as she loves Michael and wants his child, she is afraid of becoming an outcast for having a child out of wedlock, which is scandalous in 1922-23. Having heard of a secret underground clinic where abortions are performed, she reluctantly decides to go there. After her aunt Rosamund learns the truth, she offers her support and her worries for Edith doing this. Nevertheless she goes with her, but when Edith sees another woman there in tears, she leaves immediately without going through with it. Edith considers having a local farmer raise the child, but Rosamund instead proposes going abroad and giving the child away there, so Edith's reputation is safe. Eventually Violet finds out and agrees with Rosamund. But Edith now does not like the thought of giving her child away, wanting to be a part of its growing up. Nevertheless she goes to Geneva and gives her child, a daughter, away after suckling her. But in 1923, she decides she wants the child back and decides to return to Geneva to reclaim her. She then chooses to go with her original plan and have a local farmer called Mr Drewe take her in. However, tensions rise between Edith and Mrs Drewe over her attachment to the girl, named Marigold. Rosamund continues to try and persuade Edith to send the child abroad again. Finally, when Edith and the family receive word that Michael is dead, Edith goes to the farmer's house, tells Mrs Drewe the truth and reclaims Marigold. She takes the child and runs away, resolving to stay in London. However, Mrs Drewe reveals the truth to Cora, who finds and persuades Edith to come home, inventing a story that the Drewes are unable to support the extra child, so Marigold becomes part of the Crawley household. Lord Grantham eventually suspects the child's true connection to the family, but is persuaded by Lady Grantham to not reveal the truth while the family become used to Marigold.

Episode Screenshots

05x04 - Series 5, Episode 4
Season 5, Episode 04
01x01 - Episode 1
Season 1, Episode 01
04x08 - Series 4, Episode 8
Season 4, Episode 08
04x06 - Series 4, Episode 6
Season 4, Episode 06
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Lady Edith Crawley Photos

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